An Inch Square
In a book I just finished, the author recommends taking a one inch square of paper — and on it, writing the names of the people you know who definitely will have your back, no matter what. They can be people who might disagree with you but underneath everything — and most importantly — they are the names of people who will support you, as the saying goes, till the cows come home. These names should reflect the people whose opinions really and truly matter to you, way down deep inside. If you have more names than will fit on a one inch square of paper, the author proposed doing some serious editing. Her point had to do with deciding whether you are letting yourself be defined primarily by the opinions of other people — and when I mentioned this activity to my husband, he wryly suggested filling the paper with one word: Me. Not necessarily a bad idea — but I don’t want to totally stop caring what people think so I cut out a square of paper that size — it was even smaller than I had imagined it would be. I did the suggested exercise and I have to say, it was interesting. And it was also pretty mentally freeing. Then I did what the author proposed and slipped that scrap of paper into my wallet, so I could retrieve it whenever I wanted to reinforce that thinking. Next time you’re hanging around with me and I’m struggling with an essential decision, be prepared to see me open my wallet and stare at that snippet of paper for a minute before making my next move.