The other day, I mistakenly thought, Heck, why not check out my YouTube channel’s comments section for once?
And there it was. One of the meanest comments I’ve ever seen.
I was seething. Fuming. Red in the face mad.
I called my friend and mentor Jane in a rushed huff, and before she even had a chance to say hi, I charged in: “Guess what? This skanky troll online said I look like a man and that I’m gross – how dumb and mean is that???!”
There was a pause. Silence.
Was Jane there?
“Hello?” I asked, uncertain.
“Yeah, Susie. I’m here. So what?”
There it was. Two words — and one of the best questions I’ve ever been asked.
Man, that took the wind outta my seething sails. I mean, the drama flew out of the convo like air from a popped balloon.
Her casual question was so disorienting because it was the best possible response in the world. I had to laugh.
Did this random online comment mean I’m a screw-up? Nope. Does it mean I need to give up on life? Heck, no. Does it mean I look like a man? Ha! I’ve never thought about that, but if someone else does think it, that’s not my business. And even if it’s true—what’s wrong with that? We’re not put on earth to judge other people’s appearances. It’s an unkind statement, but a reflection of the person criticizing, not the person being criticized.
There’s an almost ancient wisdom to this two-word question—”So what?”—when you think about it, and there are a million ways to apply it.
“So what?” means do you. Don’t worry about other people. Everything’s OK.
Talk about a Buddhist-style edge. And so humbly (and concisely!) put. Now let me ask you: What are some situations that you can reply to with a “So what?”
- A rude remark that hurt you?
- Not being included or invited to something that you wanted to be a part of?
- Not being asked on a second date?
- That colleague who snubbed you in a meeting where you deserve credit?
- Doing 30 instead of your usual 45 on the elliptical?
- Not getting the job you applied for?
- Paying a late fee for the 7 a.m. workout class you skipped for much-needed sleep instead?
- Not being quite where you thought you’d be at age 25, 30, 50?
- Not getting a text back from that flaky friend about weekend plans?
- Screwing up dinner?
- Hangover guilt?
- Earning less than your college friend?
- Running out of dog food and giving your pup a helping of your risotto instead?
- Not being or having a perfect [fill-in-the-blank]?
Magic unfolds in life when we don’t attach pressure, meaning, and weight to things that don’t matter as much as we work ourselves up to believe they do. There’s tremendous freedom, levity, and joy in allowing things to be just as they are and not trying to make them even a wink different. What can you accept as is? What can lose your scornful eye? What can you—dare I say it—actually love and accept about yourself and your life instead?
Be careful how much you do this — you might become the happiest and freest person you know.
I get it. Your day, circumstances, and life right now probably aren’t perfect. But the truth is, they probably never will be because perfect doesn’t quite exist.
And so what? Not everything needs to perfect to still be wonderful.
This article originally appeared in Greatist.com