What You Think of Me is None of My Business—a book I could write, except the title has already been taken. I experienced the most amazing breakthrough in yoga this week, proving once again that yoga really is cheaper than therapy.
On Monday I found myself struggling mercilessly in yoga. More sweat poured out of me than I’d ever seen before. I struggled to move my limbs even the tiniest bit in each pose. I just wanted to lie down. I felt exhausted. I knew going in that I wasn’t fully hydrated as I’d had a temporary crown fall out Saturday night making my tooth sensitive to liquid so I didn’t drink much on Sunday.
So many thoughts ran through my heard, most of which involved what others would think if I took a breather and laid savasana. Would they think me lazy? Unfit? Etc. The list went on.
Then I stopped myself. What did it matter? What did it matter what anyone else thought?
I’ve spent the majority of my life worried about how others perceived me or my actions. I don’t really know how to fully explain this, but I’ll try. The difficulty with the explanation lies in the shame I feel for having spent so much time concerned with how others think to the detriment of my own life. But this is not a surprise for many reasons.
People of all ages have bullied me and treated me with cruelty for most of my life. Adults, children, relatives, etc. One time at a birthday party for my late uncle one of his friends, who was probably in his 50s at the time, openly mocked me for being obese. He walked around calling me Walter “the refrigerator” Perry. I happened to be sixteen at the time. Other adults, including my uncle, heard him and laughed. No one stopped him. No one cared.
Other times I’d walk around the mall as a teenager and I’d have people following me, yelling at me, calling me names. People saw and did nothing.
In high school, one of my gym teachers, Judy Bennis, decided on her own to try and help me lose weight, so she insisted I walk laps around the campus, in full view of everyone, while my peers played tennis and other fun sports. I found ways to hide, for her misguided attempts to help me did more damage that she could have ever imagined.
There’s so much more, so many more painful memories of mistreatment because others felt a natural right to judge me or find me unworthy because of my size.
Given all that, is it any wonder I experience difficulties expressing myself or being true to myself? My need for belonging and approval has far outweighed my ability to stay true to myself, but this approval I’ve been craving—well I’ve been craving it from the wrong places, all the places outside myself. Until now….
I woke up during yoga this past Monday. I woke up and saw the light. I don’t need anyone else’s approval. I don’t need anyone else’s permission. I don’t NEED because WHAT YOU THINK OF ME IS NONE OF MY BUSINESS!!!!
And in that moment I laid down on my mat. I honored the moment and I allowed myself to just BE. To feel FREE.
And the world didn’t end. No one looked at me funny. It wouldn’t have mattered if they did though. I left class Monday afternoon feeling happier and freer than I have in ages, knowing I didn’t and DON’T need anyone’s approval.
I’m human. I MIGHT make mistakes. I might stumble or fall, but so what if I do? And so what if the whole world sees that?
I also realized I don’t need to apologize anymore for my choices or actions or words. Love me or don’t. Accept me or don’t. I seek only my own approval. That’s the real source of happiness. That’s the source of joy.
And for today that brings a bounce to this Tigger’s step!
Oh and go to yoga sometime and just lie there. See what happens. Observe. You might just be amazed at the you hiding inside! And remember: what anyone thinks of you is NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS!!!!!!
Follow me on facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ConfessionsofaYogaPrincess/