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Mar 9, 2018

What Wayne Dyer, RuPaul, Oprah and Maya Angelou All Say


Very early on my enlightenment journey I listened to cassette tapes – that’ll date my journey for sure! – where Wayne Dyer told a story about ‘fan’ mail from two particular sources. (Maggie, this one’s for you!) One wrote to tell him that he was the biggest phony out there and he should stop what he was doing, while another praised him for being the Second Coming and how he saved this woman’s life. Wayne said, and I’m quoting loosely, “I wanted to send them each other’s letters. They’re both impostors.”

I didn’t really understand what he meant at the time, but it’s becoming clearer to me the longer I live, the more experiences I have, and the more feedback I receive. It is ALWAYS a mirror for where the person delivering the message is in their own life.

Then, I read the fabulous RuPaul interview in the February issue of O Magazine and saw the same message articulated again. Put simply, What other people think (say or write) about you is none of your business. It is only a reflection of themselves.

From the article:

Oprah: What allowed you to move past anybody’s expectations and carve out a new path?

RuPaul: I think that’s who I am naturally. But also my mother was very, very rebellious. She used to say, “Unless they payin’ your bills, pay them no mind.” I was a sweet kid, so people would hurt my feelings. But you live long enough, you realize that, baby, that has nothing to do with you.

Oprah: That’s what Maya Angelou used to say to me: Baby, you’re not even in it. When they wrote the story, when they started the rumor, it wasn’t even about you. It takes time to learn, though.

Take this into consideration the next time you’re crushed by feedback or floating on air from praise. Stick with your chosen path and trust only your own mirror’s reflection.


A Possible Comment Tag Line Here


  1. Suzanne

    “The First Agreement: Be Impeccable with Your Word
    The Second Agreement: Don’t Take Anything Personally
    The Third Agreement: Don’t Make Assumptions
    The Fourth Agreement: Always Do Your Best”

    I attended a retreat where the Four Agreements were discussed. The “Don’t Take Anything Personally” one really resonated with me. As a writer (and I am sure you know this), I receive opinions about which part of my writing heart “works” or “doesn’t work.” I finally decided to consider the source, take what worked for me and leave the rest to the commentator. Your point and practicing not taking everything in has left me so free. The angst I used to feel being responsible for each and every in put! Yikes! Thank you for reminding that “we aren’t even in it.”

  2. Maggie

    It took a long time for this lesson to sink in. I remember puzzling it over with you while we walked.
    Ignore insults? Yes!
    Ignore compliments? Why?
    OK, I get it. I’m with Jane, Wayne, RuPaul, Oprah and Maya Angelou!

    • Jane Pollak

      @Maggie Yes! I couldn’t understand it then either, but it’s become so much more evident, obvious even, now that I’m more self-aware. We all have our shadow sides, and who wants to look at those? Thanks for writing!

  3. Maria

    Such a great reminder Jane, especially in the world of social media and so many places to give an opinion.

    • Jane Pollak

      @Maria – Yes! Thank you for this additional nugget.

  4. Aliza Freedman

    Jane, Jane, Jane…
    Such potent and powerful words when we all need them so much. Baby, you ain’t even in it!

    Thank you for sharing. I will do the same.

    • Jane Pollak

      @Aliza Right up your alley! Thanks for commenting!

  5. Julianne Stirling

    My feeling is different: maybe it is a variation. When someone gives me high praise I don’t ‘dismiss the praise’ as that would somehow negate my good opinion of myself. Instead I congratulate myself for doing ‘my job’ in a way that allowed them to feel good. The same when someone blasts me with criticism, I realize they are coming from a place of sadness, anger etc. But I think I would be foolish not to consider the criticism….maybe there is a kernel of truth, maybe not. If so, then there is something to learn. In either case I am OK just as I am, for my intention is to live in peace and joy. The best way to do that is to first forgive/accept yourself and then forgive/accept others.

    Lisa Natoli tells a great story about self acceptance. As a little girl she was very excited to be starting school and was one of those who sat at the front of the class and constantly waved their hand with the answer. Her teacher scolded her often to put her hand down and give others a chance. She thus accepted that something was wrong with her and her teacher didn’t like her. The teacher snuffed out a little candle in her. It wasn’t until she was an adult that she realized what a gift her over-enthusiasm was. I’ll bet Oprah had that same spirit as a child and look where it took her.

    • Jane Pollak

      @Julianne – I love how you’ve adapted this in your own practice. And the example you gave of Lisa Natoli. I do think it’s a lifelong process and resiliency and self-talk are primary components. Thank you for your comments.


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