This is the stance you have to take. It’s urgent. You have to draw a line in the damn sand.
Let me frame this for you…
Maybe you’re like me, and maybe you have a certain number of friends from a certain time in your life when you were in what the great Joseph Campbell calls the ‘ordinary world’ (see here for more on the hero’s journey if you’re not familiar).
They’ve known you since you were younger. Maybe you weren’t on the mission you are now. Their idea of you is a certain older, static, frozen-in-time version of you. Perhaps you were in the doldrums then. Life may have placed you in a ‘normal’ setting with all the trappings of a mediocre life.
But since then, you’ve changed.
Maybe a lot.
You may have found a mission that lights your soul ablaze. You’ve found your ‘thing’. And, as you know, in many cases in this day and age, our world requires us to share that ‘thing’ and our passion about it in a public online arena.
Maybe you want to start writing and blogging about it. You want to turn your lame old Instagram feed into a place where you share your new mission. You want to jump on YouTube and start talking about this stuff from a place of elation and enthusiasm.
And then it hits you…
What will they think?
Won’t those people come out of the woodwork? Won’t they comment on your YouTube videos about that one time you got hammered in college and rode that office chair down three flights of stairs in nothing but your underwear before ramming your forehead on the railing and pissing yourself?
This is super tough for me as a budding minister. In my mind, all of my friends who knew me before I made this decision are like, “Jonas? Really? No fking way!”
Seriously, in my head, they’re all rolling their eyes at me every time I write a post here. I feel like such a fraud in their eyes.
But as you can see, I’m making most of this up. I’m writing this narrative about the way they think of me. Maybe it’s true, but by allowing myself to think this way, I’m only accepting it and adding to it.
What’s funny is, when I talk to some of them individually from the heart about it, they’re like, “Yyyyeahh, that’s perfect for you, man”.
Now, it’s possible that some of them don’t feel this way. It’s also possible that some are acting accepting to my face and then going back to their lives and mocking me. Some of them have done this to my face about it in very subtle, passive-aggressive ways.
But here’s the thing…
It doesn’t matter. This isn’t about them. I’m not going to stop them from living their truth and I shouldn’t give them the power to do the same.
You and I have no time to enter this paranoid conversation in our heads. We have work to do.
Life is too short to spend any time acting on made up stories and keeping yourself small to win back the imagined disapproval of old friends and family.
What they think of you is their business. Hopefully some are emotionally intelligent enough to support the version of you you’re stepping into. These are the only ones you should give a shit about anyways, so keep them in mind as you go along.
But really, you have no time to concern yourself with this narrative. You have to realize it for what it is: a self-scribed, self-limiting narrative.
And you have to abandon it.
You can’t make it from where you are now to where you’re going without shedding some dead weight. Also know that many of them are silently rooting for you. For some reason, you just don’t include that in your inner dialogue.
Embrace this and go.
P.S. If you need help rewriting that inner narrative, either in a creative setting or elsewhere, maybe we should hang out. Click here if you think so.