You do you, boo boo.
There’s an epidemic in our culture going around that tells us to live by our feelings. Well intentioned statements like “follow your heart” and “YOLO” send the message to our developing brains that it’s not only okay to think only of our desires, but noble. I’ve noticed this language permeating the yoga community more and more and it goes against everything in my being, and everything I’ve read about making wise decisions and healthy psychological development. These thought patterns are plaguing the millennial generation turning us into selfish assholes.
The “do you boo boo” mindset convinces us it’s a good idea to ditch our spouses and children when it doesn’t “feel like a good fit” for us anymore, that any work situation that doesn’t have a napping room and catered lunch is toxic. We lose our sense of compassion/empathy for others in the midst of our “hustle” for ourselves and create unhealthy relationships that we blame on everyone else and tell ourselves that it’s honestly fine, because “I’m just doing me, it’s my life.”
Here’s the deal - it is your life, and technically you can do what you want with it - but not without a cost and I’d like to offer you an alternative to the costs that we’re all paying because they’re far too high. We numb this selfishness that we’ve come accustom to with booze and one another which leaves everyone feeling more broken than when we started. We get stuck in ruts of partying, spending exuberant amounts of money on trips and substances to get rid of the emptiness that selfishness creates, and curing hangovers to the point where we don’t know how to get out and we lose all of the incredible potential we have pumping through our veins to impact the world in divine ways that only we can. We reject God, the idea of Him, the fact that He loves us and wants only good things for us, and we run deeper into the dark pit of selfishness “you do you boo boo” that is so highly praised in American young adult culture and look around wondering why we’re all so overly anxious and depressed.
I was notorious for hating flow classes - ya girl has a thing for intensity - and these just don’t tickle my fancy as a result. However, I knew I was getting hurt because of my love for all things intense. I’d take 10 high intensity classes a week simply because I love moving my body and getting stronger, but NO one needs that many classes, and I could feel myself getting injured. It got to a point where I actually had to cancel a charity yoga class I’d scheduled for my non-profit because I couldn’t move my knee, and I knew that I had to figure something out. Sure, I love high energy classes, but I love kids with special needs more and if my selfish obsession for insane workouts wasn’t managed I’d have to continue to cancel them.
So I made some changes and started taking flow classes, to stretch and strengthen my body without any of the impact and realign my little frame to ensure that I wasn’t going to get injured. You know what flow classes have built in them? Adjustments: moments when the teacher comes, places their hands on your body and physically moves you to a safer, deeper space so that you can receive more benefits from what you’re meant to be doing in that moment.
That’s kind of how I view this whole selfishness/you do you boo boo attitude/God connection. Technically, I didn’t HAVE to go to flow classes… I could have continued to just do whatever I wanted and continued to let my students and children I cared about down, and as a result lose a big chunk of what I believe is my life’s purpose and brings me everlasting joy in exchange for what makes me momentarily happy. I had to count the cost, make the change and decide that a few hours a week that I don’t love was a good exchange for being able to better serve students and children I love from the depths of my being. I could feel my body stretching and opening just by making a wise, logical decision for the sake of others vs an emotional one because that’s what happens when we put others over ourselves. And once I noticed that, God showed up in the palms of my teachers whether they realized it or not: together they’d melt my hips forward, expand my shoulders or tell my jaw to unlock with little soul whispers of “there, that’s better.” My teacher, and God, has never asked me to give up any parts of who I am or change myself, but rather they help me to see healthy alternatives to accomplishing what I'm actually about in my core.
You see, I’m a firm believer that serving ourselves will never reap happiness. I’m a staunch protester against the “you do you, boo boo. Follow your dreams. Do whatever makes you happy” mindset. My message to you, to every student and every human is the same:
You have a divine purpose on this Earth, and sometimes you’ll feel like living it out and sometimes you won’t. The choices are yours to make, you’re loved no matter what, but they will dictate both your personal happiness and the well-being of others. I love you, i believe Jesus loves you, so I hope you have the bravery to choose the hard stuff and place. Because at the end of the day, I don’t hate flow classes anymore. I feel them making me better, making me stronger, and I see how the choices I made as sacrifices of my time have ended up not only benefiting those I care about, but me too.