What It Actually Means to Mind Your Own Business

By: Chase Bailey

I’ve been thinking recently about the phrase “mind your own business” and about my own personal growth I’ve been experiencing. Mostly it seems like a negative, annoyed comment when someone tells you to mind your own business, but I think it entails an underlying meaning of personal journey – a meaning one can take a more positive approach to.

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Me, minding my own business.

Last semester I went through some personal shit – a lot of which involving how I identify myself and how I feel inside my own skin. I was constantly projecting what I wanted to be like onto other people – using their traits as objects of comparison to put myself down about. If I went to the gym like him I’d probably be a lot happier with myself. If I had better hair and a smaller forehead people would think I’m more attractive. It even got so bad as to, if I was straight I’d have more friends. He might have gone on a date with me if my Instagram had a better aesthetic. For god’s sake, I even started to compare myself to people with the notion that if I was like them then more girls would show interest in me at the bars (I’m gay!).

People-watching turned into an exhausting task of What do they have that makes them better than me? It was crippling, unhealthy, and it easily turned into a deepening cycle of self-abuse.

So I decided to make a change. I decided to start minding my own business. And the results have been so fucking amazingly wonderful.

I left fall semester with a deepened depression, my first experiences with anxiety and panic attacks, and a browser history full of schools I was considering to transfer.

I came into spring semester with a new determination, a fresh mindset, and something new I hadn’t experienced in a long time: a sense of self-worth. I’ve been writing more, trying new things, not using random sex as a coping mechanism. I’ve discovered more about myself in the past three months than I have in the past 19 years. Simply put, I’ve become a better person. All because I started minding my own business.

You see, I don’t think telling myself to mind my own business has to be a negative thing – a remark used to reprimand. I see it as a reminder to focus on myself, to create my own authentic and fulfilling life. It’s a phrase that gives me permission to be as personally selfish as I need to be. It reminds me to grow, not compare.

I have by no means found pure bliss. I haven’t become closed off to self-critique (which is important), I haven’t reached enlightenment, and no part of my life has really drastically changed. I’m not a famous Instagram personality, I still don’t have a boyfriend, my forehead is still a football field, and I don’t do things like wake up at 4am to meditate for three straight hours. I’ve just become more okay with being Chase because I’ve been investing more in Chase’s business – I’ve realized that I can only ever be Chase.

It’s a process  – there are definitely up’s and down’s (deep down’s) – but it’s progress. It’s all about the process.

“A flower does not grow spectacularly by composing itself as a reflection of the rest of meadow, but by blooming in the light of its own beauty.” 

Move forward, and mind your own damn business.

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