If anyone thinks I’m crazy, that’s okay they might be right

This is my mantra right now. I’m learning to mean it.

A few months ago, when I was telling my good friend Dani about creating my blog and sharing my ideas openly, I finished every sentence with, “But I’m scared.” “But it’s nerve-wrecking to share my ideas publicly.” “But this, but that.”

Before I knew it, Dani had cut me off with a bitch, please look. “If this is going to work, you need to be shameless. Write about every trying experience you’ve had; share your ideas boldly; don’t care what others think; be aggressive; put yourself out there; channel the vibe of, if anyone thinks I’m crazy, that’s okay they might be right.”

By the end of Dani’s little tirade, my mouth was hanging open in laughing shock. She was right, I was being such a little fool by worrying about what others think. That would leave me playing small as fuck.

Sometimes I channel this fearless attitude. Other times, I post something I think is fabulous and then ask myself, What are other people going to think? Is this corny? Will people think I’m crazy? What if my ex sees this? Am I ruining my life? Would anyone notice if I archived this now?

I haven’t let go of caring about what other people think of my work, but a recent experience brought me closer to doing so. Last night, one of my oldest friends told me that she’s worried about me. “You’re never going to be happy sitting at home and thinking about yourself all day. The stuff you’re interested is weird and narcissistic. I cried the other day reading one of your Instagram posts because you’re clearly so intelligent and you’re wasting your potential on this culty self-help crap.”

It hurt to hear that, it did. But more than anything, it made me smile. Not only had she not shaken my resolve, but in the face of the criticism I’d been so terrified of hearing, I felt strong.

Why is this story so meaningful to me? Because it represents a symbolic turning point in my process of self-acceptance; one that’s a right of passage for every person that pursues the radically honest and unconventional path.

Sahara Rose, best-selling Ayurvedic author, top podcaster and overall inspirational babe, has an archetypal right of passage story that served as the turning point in her career. After getting a download that she would be the one to modernize Ayurveda and share it with the world, she moved to India and began to study it deeply.

Her parents, distressed with the path she had chosen, were fearful for her. They urged her to get a job and told her that she’d never be able to support herself with the vision she had in mind. In fact, they pressured her to become a real estate agent. “You can continue your chanting and Ayurveda stuff while selling houses on the side.”

The darkest rock bottom of her life happened during this time. While sitting in her childhood room, she overheard her parents arguing about how she was a failure, how she wasn’t ever going to amount to anything and, ultimately, that they wanted nothing to do with her. As she lay sobbing on the floor, she realized that her parents’ rejection was her ticket to freedom. Her need to please them was what had been holding her back. After this experience, she took on the attitude of, This is who I am. If you want me in your life, you’re going to have to accept it. If not, that’s okay I don’t need you.

She pursued her vision with confidence and determination and a year later landed a book deal to write the Idiot’s Guide to Ayurveda, which is now the best-selling book on Ayurveda and the best-selling Idiot’s Guide. She’s recently published her own book on Ayurveda called Eat Feel Fresh, which I highly recommend. Now her business has expanded significantly, she’s massively successful and Deepak Chopra calls her "a leading voice in the millennial generation.”

I believe that we each have a dharma, a purpose we’re meant to live out in this life. Following it won’t only bring you satisfaction and emotional peace, but success and the things you most crave. If you follow your dharma, it’s likely that you’re going to have to go against cultural norms you grew up with, face criticism from those you previously depended on and pursue this path despite having no evidence that it will all work out in the end.

In her memoir Becoming, Michelle Obama says that the fundamental problem with caring a lot about what other people think is that it can put you on the established path.

In what area of your life are you giving too many fucks about what others think? Where will this behavior lead you in five, 10 and 20 years? And is that somewhere you want to be?

Raisa Reyes