Five Ways Not to Care What She Said about You.

Via on Apr 19, 2012

“Don’t ponder others.” ~ Tibetan lojong

There was a time where I could have an argument with you—start to finish—without needing you to be present for it at all. Or I could invent entire scenarios and live out the angst of what I thought would happen or could happen or might happen—long before it ever did happen. I think part of it is being a writer. Oh, the imagination! Always making up stories.

Imagination is a wonderful thing when it’s me making up stories while I people watch on the train or when I’m making up bedtime stories for my children. When it’s fueling my projections about what may or may not be going on in someone else’s mind or what he might say or do? Totally useless.

Well, not useless, but to no good use. If we want to live in a state of baseless anxiety and constant drama, constant contemplation of others is a great way to go. If we want to live half a life and make someone else’s choices instead of our own, thinking about what someone else will say or think about our choices is a good start.

Personally, I’d rather not live in a constant state of imagination fueled anxiety about what others may or may not being saying or thinking. I’d rather enjoy my life and focus on what is actually going on in my relationships. Pema Chodron summed it up best:

“The most difficult times for many of us are the ones we give ourselves.”

Hard times will come in life often enough without us constantly giving ourselves new ones. It’s great to think first of others, but this doesn’t mean “thinking about what they might be thinking about and how it affects me,” it means thinking of how I can be of benefit to others. Gossip, projection and drama…not of benefit to anyone (except maybe people who write soap operas of those movies for Lifetime).

Five ways to knock off the drama:

1. Don’t take things personally. If someone does lash out at you, stop before you react. Is it deserved? Own your part and apologize. Clear up any misunderstanding if there is one. If it’s not, it’s about what’s going on for them and it’s not about you.  Get over yourself. Go outside and look at the stars instead of fretting about it. Let it go.

2. Talk to people, not about people. It’s easy to forget this one. We want to “vent” instead of being direct and “hurting someone feelings.” Guess what? When we choose to be indirect, it’s our own feelings that we are trying to protect. We don’t need to be aggressive, but direct in a respectful way.

3. “Don’t ponder others.” Don’t contemplate others. Don’t sit and enjoy your fairy tales about what he might do or say or think about something. Let it go. It’s not real. I used to have this one woman who I saw, maybe twice a year. I would work myself up into this huge anxiety about what I thought she might think of me or say about me. Then, one day I realized, whether she approves of me or not, she’s never going to be direct about it. If she talks about me behind my back, it won’t be to people who would tell me about it. So, in effect, I had wasted a tremendous amount of energy on something that was never going to have a direct impact on my life (except for the hard time I had created in my own mind).

4. Choose your words carefully. Respond rather than reacting. There’s something I have found to be true about mindful speech. I find that the more I am mindful with my own speech, the less trouble I have responding to mindless speech from others. If we know we are coming from a place of mindful communication, we can feel grounded and not constantly tossed around by ideas about how our words  may have been perceived. Speaking (and emailing, Facebooking, texting and all of it) clearly, respectfully and lovingly goes a long way towards preventing communication problems.

5. Live a passionate life. When we focus on what brings us joy, there’s a lot less room for drama and angst, especially the self-created kind. On the flip side, if we get wrapped up in these projections and in contemplating others, we leave ourselves little time to do what we love. Skip the fairy tale and live an adventure in real life.

About Kate Bartolotta

Kate Bartolotta is the strongest girl in the world. She is the love child of a pirate and a roller derby queen. She hails from the second star to the right. Her love of words is boundless, but she knows that many of life’s best moments are completely untranslatable. When she is not writing, you may find her practicing yoga, devouring a book, playing with her children, planting dandelions, or dancing barefoot with her heart on her sleeve. She is madly in love with life and does not know how this story ends; she’s making it up as she goes. Kate is the owner and editor-in-chief of Be You Media Group. She also writes for The Huffington Post, elephant journal, The Good Men Project, The Green Divas, Yoganonymous, The Body Project, Project Eve, Thought Catalog and Soulseeds. She facilitates writing workshops and retreats throughout North America. Heart Medicine, Kate's book on writing, is now available on Amazon.com You can follow Kate on Facebook and Twitter

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6 Responses to “Five Ways Not to Care What She Said about You.”

  1. Valerie Carruthers ValCarruthers says:

    What??!! A life with no drama!?**! Seems so…quiet….peaceful even. Awesome, Kate!

    Just posted to "Featured Today" on the Elephant Spirituality Homepage.

    Valerie Carruthers
    Please go and "Like" Elephant Spirituality on Facebook

  2. Dr. Katy Poole Katy Poole says:

    I loved this! Thanks for sharing this necessary wisdom.

  3. shanaelyse says:

    Kate, I so love reading your pieces. I’ve been in a dark place as of late, and when I read your essays, I think, “Wow! This gal gets me. I’m gonna get through this.” Much gratitude to you.

    xoxo shana

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