It was liberating. It was as if a tremendous burden had been taken from me and that I could proceed on with no longer being shackled. It was the realization that I could strive and thrive and and find ultimate satisfaction. It all came down to just three little words.

I. Don't. Care.

Now, before you write me off as a self centered, heartless, compassion less person, please let me put this in context.

Early in life I came to the understanding that there was an unwritten (or maybe someone did write it down) list of the “cool kids.” You remember them, right? They were pretty easy to pick out. Well, as I went down the list of these folks I noticed that a certain name was not on the list. Mine. And that really stung. I'm sure I shed some childhood tears over the rejection. I so much wanted the acceptance and I was doing everything I could to gain entrance to the clique.

First of all, it didn't work. Secondly, it was a mistake to try. You see, looking back on those efforts to get cool group inclusion, I can see that I was being blown around by the winds of popularity. And while I was walking that winding path that would ultimately not lead me to my desired result, I probably lost my vision of the true north and the straight path that I should have stayed on.

Now, it wasn't that I started living some riotous life style, nothing like that. But I started worrying about things that were, in retrospect, pretty trivial. Why couldn't I get the new and latest fashions? Did I have to drive the station wagon? Why can't I have my own car? You get the idea. A lot of wasted time on things, that in the long run would not really shape my life.

Then the almost magic revelation. It didn't matter. I could find more purpose, more contentment by casting away worrying about my social status, and focusing on forming my own character, developing my core principles and beliefs, and then working hard to promote and advocate for those things.

On a recent Glenn Beck podcast, comedian Jim Greuer was asked what kind of price he was paying for being political in his comedy routine. Part of his answer resonated with me.

It made me realize I don't have time to worry about what people think of me. I know where I'm at in life. I know where I'm at spiritually. I know where I'm at with my family.

Times have changed, and the ways we seek to gain access to that “cool club” have changed. How many “likes” do we get on Facebook? How many followers on Twitter? I don't even know the metrics that are used on Tik Tok because I...well you know.

This article lists five reasons why it is good to march to the beat of your own drum. Here is one of the reasons:

...marching to the beat of your own drum creates resilience. The ability to bounce back, change course, or accept a situation so that you can learn and grow comes with learning to be yourself. Marching to your own drum beat is a courageous decision to swim against the social current. This teaches you how to accept that sometimes you don’t have the answers. Sometimes you’ll fail. Sometimes you’ll be misunderstood, or no one will “get” you. But your commitment to being yourself can allow experience teach you, inform you, and make your march that much sweeter.

So, I'll happily stay on my own course. Part of that course includes trying to lift and help others as I can, contributing to causes important to me. But worrying about the likes and things? Not so much. Give it a try. I think you'll find it a way to more happiness and less stress.

And if you want another couple of phrases to take the worry out of your life, try these: “I'm sorry” and “I repent.”

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