There are many things for which I am grateful to my friend, Lynne, but one of my favorites is the fact that she was the person who introduced me to the fantastic phrase, “Just ‘cuz.”
Until I met her, nothing in my life had ever been done “just ‘cuz”. I always backed up everything I decided to do with case plans, legal arguments, graphs, pie charts, handouts, and a Power Point presentation so that, if asked, I could at any moment give a detailed presentation on exactly why I should be allowed to do the activity in question, and exactly how it would lead to some sort of measurable result such as more money or a better job.
Then I met Lynne.
And one day when I was telling her about some kind of training I wanted to take, and I finished my whole song-and-dance routine of justifying why I wanted to do this, she said, “What if you just did this. Just. ‘Cuz.?”
For a while I was speechless, mostly because I was involved in picking all the pieces of my brain up off the floor. And then I was all, “Oh, sure, but first why don’t I go rob a bank, and then go knock off a chain of convenience stores because, HELLO!, you are not allowed to do something just because you want to and you think it will be fun. What’s wrong with you?!”
But truth be told, I was fascinated with this idea. It was sort of like mental cocaine, the idea that maybe, just maybe, I could actually do the things I wanted to do just ‘cuz. No need for any lengthy dissertations or comprehensive oral exams where I had to prove my worthiness. Just. ‘Cuz.
So ever since then I have been luxuriating in the freedom this thought brings. Like, the kind of luxuriating where you roll around naked in giant piles of money while your handsomely oiled and scantily-clad pool boys fan you with large palm fronds and hand feed you individual pieces of gourmet chocolate on the beach of your own, private, Caribbean island.
Yes, I’ve been living it up big time with these two little words. And then recently, I discovered yet another liberating aspect of this powerful thought.
As I’ve written before, during the past few months I’ve been very involved in learning how to manage my anxiety disorder. I’ve also had to deal with a lot of health challenges, as I often do in the fall.
And while I love all the personal growth work I do, the shadow side of that comes out when I blame myself for my conditions and tell myself things like, “Well, if I were more enlightened, I wouldn’t be having all these problems. If I were just doing this stuff right, I wouldn’t be so sick.”
And once again, Lynne stepped in and helped me see this another way.
“What if,” she suggested, “you are not to blame?”
“What if this is just a thing, like, you just have an anxiety thing?”
“What if,” she posited, “just like we can be happy ‘just ‘cuz’, we can just have an anxiety thing ‘just ‘cuz’?”
“What if you could let yourself off the hook?”
I’m not exaggerating when I say that there is no number high enough for me to describe the amount of shame, judgment, and blame that lifted off my shoulders when she said these things to me. It was such a tremendous relief to have another way to view this situation, one that did not involve the need to constantly abuse myself mentally.
Such a powerful little phrase, those two little words. Once again they are proving to be quite the lifesaver for me.
To read some more great posts about how we can let ourselves off the hook, check out:
“Doing our work” by Lynne Morrell, and
“Positive Attitudes: All Powerful…or Maybe Just Warm and Cozy?” by Alix North.