on not caring about what other people think

Source: etsy.com via Kylie on Pinterest


A few months ago I wrote a post about traveling ‘lite’ with a toddler and got a well written but negative email response. The writer eloquently told me to stay home or leave my son with a relative. He told me in no uncertain terms that other travelers did not appreciate young children and that my child was too young to appreciate travel.

My face actually flushed with embarrassment reading the email.

It’s hard not to care about what other people think of you.

Hard but required if you want to make some against the grain choices like living with less stuff.

I’ve been thinking about this concept for a while now and why the many choices we have made in the last year or so are now just a part of our lifestyle. Why haven’t we gone back to shopping? Why haven’t we reverted back to buying more and upgrading? Why haven’t we moved into a bigger and nicer home? We’re out of consumer debt and have the means. Everyone we know here on the island has a bigger home than us and at least one car. We’re definitely an outlier model in our circle of family and friends.

One reason we’ve stayed the course: we don’t care what other people think.

I don’t say that in a harsh way either. I do listen to the opinions of people close to me and my family. I listen and I know that we’re on different paths. Our choices work for our family and their choices work for them. Neither of them is better than the other just different.

Rayna over at the Suburban Minimalist is back to blogging (yeah!) and had a wonderful post the other day about developing a thicker skin. She writes honestly about being a sensitive soul and worrying about the reactions of others. Her follow up here is also worth a read.

I’m in complete agreement with Rayna that one of the greatest ways to stop caring about what other people think is to realize, they probably aren’t thinking about you at all. Most of us have our head down and are fairly absorbed with our own goings on. We barely notice if a friend got a hair cut or if there’s a stain on their shirt. Make the connection: if you’re not thinking about them, they’re probably not thinking about you.

So what do you do when someone does provide their negative opinion about your choice? I usually just let it be. I’m not going to change anyone’s mind that is already made up. So instead of getting defensive or hurt I just let it go. Once you get into the habit of not caring it’s easy.

Not caring made it easy to shrug off a comment from a neighbor that we shouldn’t be living in a small flat with a toddler.

Not caring made it easy to just say “we’ll see” when a local shop owner told me we wouldn’t make it through the winter without a car.

It also helps that I have a small circle of friends. Both here on the island and that I stay in touch with through email and on Skype. I quit Facebook and that helps too. I’m in touch with people that I have a close relationship. They care about me. I’m not sitting through coffee with a Frenemy and seething at the veiled insults being doled my way.

Another thing: I’m older. I’m more confident in who I am, what I want and what makes me happy. I’m still not immune to snarky comments or cutting remarks but it’s much easier to not let them bother me too much. Because worrying about those things and putting energy into them is a waste of my valuable time.

After reading that not nice email telling me to stop including Henry in our travel plans I did not print it out, or reply, or reconsider my plans of a family tour of Turkey this spring.

I deleted it.

How do you deal with other people’s comments on your choices? Do you laugh them off, cry or barely notice them? Has anyone had negative comments about their choice to live with less stuff?

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  • yes to not wasting your energy on it! i’m adjusting to a new home again and new curious people… and i realized the other day that i don’t have to give them a primer on me. if they really want to know they’ll ask, and if not, let it be!

    my current struggle is more with percieved pressures to conform with the holidays approaching and the expected consumer glut. i have a little bit of pride and i don’t want to be outdone in gift giving to our child by my inlaws… even though i really don’t think we need one more _thing_ in our home! we’re writing a holiday letter to family telling them that all we want for the holidays is their company if we can have it. anything beyond that is nice but not necessary. and if they don’t understand, that’s okay, we can’t afford to keep up with gifts until we get out of debt! and that’s the real gift we’re giving our daughter, a lifestyle that is better for us all the way around… even if it does look weird to others!

    thanks for your thoughts – they were what i needed to read this morning!

  • Thank you so much for this article.

    We are a minimalist family in Chicago. The questions that most get to me are similar to ones you mention above:
    “you’re not going to make it through a Chicago winter without a car!”
    “you converted a walk-in closet to a toddler bedroom?”
    etc. etc.

    On the other hand, we get so many positive comments too!
    “Wow–your place is so clean. It must be because you just don’t have much junk.”
    “It must be nice to not have to dig a car out of the snow in the winter.”
    “Your daughter’s room (closet) is so cute. She must just love living in such a cute little cubby. I would’ve as a kid!”

    Anyway, I still struggle with the negative comments, but I’ve been trying to remember the positive ones. Your blog is a HUGE encouragement for this family of three in Chicago! Keep it up!

  • PS One more comment: Having facebook has actually been more helpful than hurtful for me. I post about Zipcar, public transit, decorating our daughter’s closet, etc. and people respond really positively. I think I would feel really alone without their responses. (Most of our family/friends are in rural Indiana, and so our life is very different from theirs!) Kudos to you for getting off, though–I do hate the time I waste on it!

    • Thanks, Courtney. Facebook isn’t all evil. I know lots of people that use it, like you, for good. Connecting with family and friends that are far away and spreading the word about good things like Zipcar and Freecycle. Glad to hear you are using it well :)

  • This is a hard one to learn but so incredibly empowering when you do! And yes, some of it comes with age. I’ve just turned 40 and used to be a people pleaser, especially at work. I realized that wasn’t getting me anywhere, just stressed so I’m starting to get very good at not caring if someone thinks I should be doing THEIR work for them! I will no longer care about these trivial things, stew about them and every day, it gets that much easier!

  • Another great post. I think you really highlighted the point that just like getting rid of the stuff in your home that wastes your time, money, and, energy, it’s just as important to get rid of the stuff in your LIFE (ex: frenemies, drama, anything that doesn’t match with you moving forward or provide you with good information to make informed decisions) that waste the same resources. Minimalism is minimalism across all areas of life. If you have an organized smooth running household and a negative friend draining your energy, you’ve still got more work to do. Personally, it’s always been easy for me to get rid of the people clutter. I’ve still got more work to do with the house clutter! Thanks again!

  • Good for you. Our daughter has always been an excellent traveler and very well behaved in restaurants. I would have hated to miss some of our experiences because of fear of offending someone when traveling with her. She is adopted from a foreign country so you could say we started our lives together traveling in a big way! Thanks for inspiring me to get rid of extra clutter in my life. Now if I could just get rid of Facebook. I have family that just won’t email but will FB for some reason. So weird!

    • Remember when people used to stop in and visit unannounced? There was nothing weird about it. Now it would seem really strange if a friend stopped by. We’re slowly easing ourselves out of less personal and less fact to face communication.

      I get it, Facebook is a great platform to connect online with people and grab your news, whatever that may be. But where does it end? I’ve even found myself writing long winded text messages when I should really just call.

      Sorry – got a little off track there.

      Thanks for the good words about traveling with a young child :)

  • I think children benefit from travel no matter what their age. My daughter still remembers things about a holiday in France we went on when she was only just 3, she is now nearly 7! People who are so negative about children are probably jealous of those of us who have a happy family life. People who insist you need a car are also probably jealous that you are fitter than them and don’t have the expense of petrol and keeping a car. People will always criticise what you do, but I would just feel sorry for them for having issues!

    • I hope we get some trips in like that for Henry. He turns 2 next week and I would love for us to return to Canada in 3-5 years with some travel under his belt. We didn’t have the means to travel or vacation when I was growing up. I didn’t go on my first flight until I was 16 and it was a recruiting trip for rowing.

      I do try and remember that negative comments are usually a projection of others unhappiness.

  • Interestingly what struck me from this is that the negative opinion came via e-mail rather than in the comments section (unless I missed something and there was a comment also), which would have allowed feedback from others.Always easier to have the last say but not always the most enlightening. Be true to yourself as most negative opinion is “projection” anyway!

    • And I got a reply from the same reader to this post!! Obviously doesn’t want to comment here for fear of the lynch mob he would have on him. Short on time this am (running out the door to watch Henry and one of his friends for the day – scared!! Glimpse of life with two) but I will have time tomorrow to respond to all of these awesome comments.

  • Rachel,
    Amen sister! I love reading what you write. I can really relate to this, as I am pretty sensitive myself (I’m an introverted melancholic-choleric). There have been many posts that I’ve wanted to write but have held back because I was worried about the reaction of some of my readers (which is mostly my family and friends(LOL!). I’m working on this and trying to develop thicker skin. Perhaps that is why I admire my husband so much, because he seems so fearless in so many ways. I’m taking a writing class right now and my instructor gave me a gem to think about: Ironically, writers tend to lean towards the sensitive spectrum, but work in a field where thick skin is necessary, having to deal with multiple rejections from the query letters they send out to editors.
    Thank you for sharing. It makes me feel as if I’m not alone when it comes to negative comments.

    • Jenn – I am so enjoying reading your updates from France. Beautiful writing and I feel like I’m right there with you. Particularly that last piece about cycling. Thank you!

  • I tend to delete those kinds of emails or comments. Sometimes I just laugh it off with my husband or one of my friends.

    We don’t get negative comments about having less stuff, but rather we get comments and ‘encouragment’ from welling meaning relatives and friends about getting newer cars. My husband and I have cars 11 and 17 years old.

    They’ve been fine for us for the most part so we kept them. Now that we have the baby, we’re planning on getting a bigger vehicle, but we’re going to pay for it – no car loans.

    We don’t care – we know what we want as a family and we’re saving up.

    • Elle, in fact, a lot of people in Japan (where I’m from) tend to just save up and pay upfront for a new car. It is surprisingly unusual in the states, people just assume if you drive a new car, you have a car loan. It’ll be cool not to – I think it’s very wise to do so. :) I mean, car depreciates sooo fast!

  • My husband and I have traveled quite a bit and I’m always amazed how many adults misbehave! They can be far more obnoxious and rude than the children. Take your son with you and enjoy. How will he learn if you never introduce him to different situations. It’s true, some of us have to get thicker skin, but also some need to realize the world doesn’t revolve around them and be more tolerant of each other.

    • Thanks, Mary. He has so far been a good flier and I make sure to keep him occupied and settled for the flight. No kicking the seats in front or screaming. I got some great tips on small things to bring to amuse him for our last trip and it was very helpful.

  • Wonderful article. Thank you! I, too, quit Facebook to simplify my life, and the peace of mind that has come from that one simple action is astounding. Here’s to not caring what people think!

  • Amen! Not to beat a dead horse but life doesn’t stop after children. There are dinners to be eaten and trips to be made and toddlers don’t become well behaved children in a vacuum. They need these experiences just as much as we need them as parents. I would have told you the same – to keep your young child at home – until I actually had one. It’s all about perspective so I totally get it when people move tables before they even know if my kids are going to cause a ruckus and I shrug my shoulders and move on. They are thinking of themselves and that’s ok because I’m doing the same :)

    • Completely agree with you, Cheryl. Before having Henry I too was wary of babies and toddlers on planes. Not sure why because the adults on the flight were just as likely to cause a ruckus, snore or be disruptive to fellow passengers.

      You’re right that both parties need to look out for themselves. On my last trip with Henry I was lucky to move to an empty row for the long-haul flight and kept him amused and out of peoples way. Our original seat was next to an elderly gentleman that was very kind but I could see his relieved look when we moved. I wasn’t insulted and was happy that there was room for us to move. A win for both of us.

  • I’m glad to see another person to add to the list of those who have decided to not worry about what another person thinks of you. Somehow, in the midst of life, if we waste time trying to meet someone else’s expectations of how we will live, we will never live. What is that saying out there right now…?…something about living your own life because nobody else will….
    As one who has been an outsider most of my life, probably due to moving often, I find it easier than many to not be too concerned about what other folks think. And in the case of your opening comments, I have decided that in regard to a person I know nothing about, and who has no clue who I am or my values, that their opinion of me means quite a bit less than the roach I killed. I think more of my opinion than I do theirs. I may not tell them so, but there are times when I think I should just write back and say something like “…and what is it that makes your opinion better than mine?…” After all, that is what it is. An opinion. A decision. A lifestyle. If I can live with what I have decided to do, I sure don’t need someone out there that I don’t know to give my lifestyle value.
    As for taking your child with you- as I told my daughter when her in-laws were giving some grief to her regarding the choice of names for their son- those folks had their opportunity to use their decision making with their children, this is your opportunity to do the same. You need to live your own life.
    I’m glad you are doing the same.

    • Thanks for these interesting comments, Jack.

      I find it fascinating that the conversation has slowly moved from one about being confident in your choices and not worrying about opinions, to one of what is considered rude or appropriate. In fact, the original email I received telling me not to travel was then followed up from this post with a litany of complaints about young children and their rude parents in public places. It was actually a disgusting email that insinuated I had no care for others and would do things like change my son’s diaper on a restaurant table and let me child run all over the plane. I do none of those things and consider myself quite sensitive to other diners and passengers experience not being ruined by my son.

      You can not care about people’s reaction to your choices and also be polite and care about those around you.

  • I don’t like travelling with losers like that guy on the plane but its not like you get a choice do you? If he wants to travel sans children he should consider hiring a private plane.

    • Hahaha! Hannah, you are awesome.

      Actually, the man I was referring to emailed me back after this post. Seems he is very anti-children so I got another rant from him. Not going to post it here but definitely going to block this guy’s email address.

      So many great comments here! I’m short on time this morning but will respond as soon as I can.

  • You should absolutely travel with your little guy & if I’m next to a kid on a plan I rejoice that there will be some entertainment to pass the time!

    I’ve found the transition into parenthood is full of other people’s opinions and I’ve found myself struggling with that over the past few months. I’ve begun to give myself an internal “pat on the back” each time I stand my ground in little disagreements (no, grandma, I don’t think she needs another jacket right now). I’m hoping that practicing standing up for my beliefs through these little battles will strengthen me when the larger issues (breastfeeding in public, minimalist approach to toys & clothes, introducing solid foods, etc) come up.

    Great post as always – thank you!

    • Parenthood: the mostly wildly held job in the world. And with that the one everyone has an opinion about. My favourites are opinions from those that don’t even have children.

      Good for you for standing up for what is working for you and your child. Don’t let others opinions ever get in the way of that! :)

  • I agree with Jack and Hannah… I just love the horrified looks when I walk into a plane (always the last ones on) with my 3 kids, but as my kids have travelled since they were babies they are great flyers.

    You can never please everyone, so you might as well please yourself, always easier said than done but it is a good place to start.

  • I have tried for 15 minutes to find your email, and then another 10 to find out where to comment! so for this guy to email you is already quite an investment in his time :) I’d rather email too, but mostly i just want to say that as a mother, of toddlers, your blog has given me a little bit of hope and willingness to live a little. For someone who used to have wanderlust, I’ve found it easier to stay home and make life “easy”, while not really enjoying “easy” all that much. Good luck to you, and know that for every negative response, there’s far more supporters!

    • Oh no – I need to get this site sorted stat. Sorry, I’m still new at blogging/website technical things. My email address is the minimalist mom at gmail dot com.

      Thanks for the good words, Marie. :)

  • I have spent some time over the past year or so observing peoples comment/reactions/opinions regarding me and my family. You mention that “they probably aren’t thinking of you at all.” You got it right with that statement, and I’ve noticed that it actually goes a step further. What they are actually expressing is their own fears.

    Pay attention as people talk to you and you’ll find they unknowingly share their inner-most fears.

    For example, I have a very old flip phone for my cell phone. It doesn’t do much other than make calls, but it meets my needs and the cost is low. When people see that, they often start rattling off about how many wonderful things their smart phones do. What they are actually doing is sharing a fear that they spent too much on their phones, are scared they could break, and they fear they will be left out of something that is popular. They may not be saying all of that, but depending on the areas they spend time talking about, you can get a pretty good idea of where their fears lie.

    The things you do are not considered “normal” in society. Many people are going to criticize you because your lifestyle highlights the deficiencies in theirs. It’s their fears that lead to the anger and criticism.

    • I completely agree with you Eric. That is the number one thing I am learning with becoming minimalist…how to be happier with myself. It doesn’t matter if I don’t have an iphone (which I don’t). I also don’t need that iphone to make me happier. I still have to quash my own ego and try to refrain from telling people I can afford it, I just don’t want it. Saying that makes me just as guilty as them. It doesn’t matter if I can afford it or not – I have chosen to live without one because I don’t need it, and that is that. It has become just as much about being happy with who I am and what/who I choose to surround myself with or the type of person I want to be.

      If more people were satisfied with themselves, our world would have a lot less problems because less people would always be trying to keep up with the Joneses.

      • Projection is another way I have dealt with negative comments. It’s not really about me or what I am doing, it’s about their own life. Makes it easier to let the little (and big) comments go. No need to retort to a person that obviously has their own struggles.

    • This is exactly how I feel. If people are confident within their own choices they won’t worry about what other people do.

      I have an iPhone, I like my iPhone (I’m actually posting from it right now) but it has no impact on my life if other people have regular mobile phones (the Australian name for cell phones).

      Everyone has to do what’s right for them, and being secure in my own life and choices means not worrying about the choices other people make for their own lives.

  • Inspiring stuff sister. I’ve been taking the feedback way to seriously and need to trash the negative comments the moment they roll in. I’m not at the laughing stage and still spend too much energy on why they’re giving me a negative comment. I need to read/listen and then hit delete in my brain.

  • I recently discovered your blog and really enjoy reading it. I daresay Mr. Stuffy didn’t post his comment publicly because he knew the negative replies he’d get. You keep on taking your little boy with you wherever you want to explore. It goes by way too fast :)

  • Just perfect timing! I need to learn to let things just roll off. The other day, I posted a comment on a blog and received TONS of negative feedback. However, I’m a fighter (fortunately/unfortunately), so fought back. It’s hard because that is my guy feeling-to fight back. Someone once explained my family perfectly when they said that conversation is a combat sport with my parents and siblings. I wish I had just let those comments alone and moved on. Instead, I vented through my blog. I hope to one day grow out of my debating ways and just let it be! BRAVO to you for learning that not so easy skill!

    • It’s hard. And don’t even bring up family stuff – I still feel myself reverting to my thirteen year-old self when I hear second hand that a sibling has made a negative comment about me. I read this great article in the Globe and Mail the other day about big families and just accepting everyone’s differences. Can’t find the link now but it was a good read.

  • We have a long history in our family of being raised to not care what other people think. While it didn’t help me much in those difficult teenage years, I can honestly say that I think it is probably the one thing that has helped me be content as an adult. If you take away the comparison factor, and just look at where you are and all you have to be grateful for, it’s a lot easier to be happy.

    Others are busy living their lives and I am busy living mine – you hit the nail on the head, your time is valuable (every body has a finite amount of time in life) and your time is yours to do with it as you like. So if what makes you happy includes travelling with your toddler, I say, more power to you. We take our kids with us when we go places because we LOVE THEM and want to SPEND TIME WITH THEM. :)

    • Not comparing has been a big hurdle for me. But, like you wrote, it’s been a huge factor in my day to day happiness and enjoying my life. Since we’ve adopted the live with less lifestyle I have compared what we have and what we do less and less with our peers. It’s made me enjoy and love what we have even more. What we have being good health, great family and an awesome lifestyle living overseas.

      Thanks for bringing this up, Erin. I will definitely be writing more about not comparing in the future.

  • We stopped caring a long time ago, really most people don’t think about us as much as we think. We also realized that we will never live up to what my husband’s mother wants us to be. She had certain dreams for her sons and of course none of them are doing what she wanted. After years of just trying to prove that he was good enough for his mom, my husband has decided he is ready to to live for his family. I am so glad you have figured this out already. Dare to be different. As for taking your son traveling Good for you, the attitude of the reader is so 2 generations ago. I remember arranging a trip to France before my daughter was born, my in-laws offered to take care of my not yet born child while we were gone for a week. I firmly said that I would be breast feeding and they offered to feed her for me. But I let them know that would not work on my end, as the mother needs the baby too. Besides how much trouble is a 3 month old baby? Additionally I was going to a family wedding, I wanted them all to meet my baby. But my in-laws wanted us to have a romantic get away to Paris. Seriously how was it going to be romantic with 30 other family members. Long story short we had 4 babies on that trip, all from the same family. It was wonderful. Always take your kids when you travel.

  • Great post! A funny thing happened when I turned 40…I finally stopped worrying about what people thought of me. My husband is English, my child is half English/half American. I am American and we all three live in the US. Last year we went to visit my father in law and as soon as a fellow passenger saw us settle in with our 4 year old next to her she sighed dramatically and said very loudly to her companion “great, I always get stuck near a kid.” I turned to her and politely said “do you have a problem with sitting near us? Why don’t you ask if there is an available seat elsewhere in the plane?” After getting over her shock of me actually confronting her she said “why should I move for you?” and I said “exactly. And why should my child not see her grandfather because of YOU?” She never said another word to us and my child was as good as gold during the flight(she is so used to traveling we never have a problem with her.) 5 or 6 years ago that would have upset and troubled me. I would never have said anything and I would have fretted and been stressed throughout the flight. Now I politely put people in their place if I feel the need, otherwise I make an effort not to fret about how people feel about my choices. They are mine and they are just as valid as anyone elses. As my husband says “no one seems to spend any time worrying how we’ll feel about THEIR decisions so why should we be worried about how others feel about OUR decisions?” :)

    • Pat, you are fantastic! I love this line and am filing it away should I need it in the future.

      We took an overnight business class flight when we moved to the UK. Vancouver to London. I saw the look of dread when I walked into the business class cabin with Henry. But he was so good! He slept through most of the flight and didn’t make a peep. On my last trip to Toronto I got so many comments about how good he was from other passengers.

  • I’m glad you wrote this. It takes time to break the habit of caring about impressing others and thinking it has to be with the bigger better things (materialistic of course). I still have to remind myself sometimes that It doesn’t matter what people think about my car or my shoes. That kind if thinking just throws you back into debt. I wrote something along the same lines in my post “Thou shalt not covet: living within your means” at StrivingforSimple.com. Thanks Again. Your debt-freeness has inspired me!

    • Thanks, Christyn. Like you said, worrying about what other people think can be a catalyst for buying things you don’t need and more debt. Being content with what we have and not worrying about what people think about our choices will be key for us to continue to stay out of consumer debt.

  • THANK YOU for this article today. I really needed it! We just got back from two weeks in Italy with our 2 year old. We all had a great time, including my 2 year old who is still playing “go to Venice” on nearly a daily basis and makes up songs about various things we did on our trip. Before we left, we received LOTS of negative commentary on our decision to take our daughter. It was both frustrating and infuriating — and yes, what I really need to do is make a better effort to not only not care what others think (which I don’t) but to not let what others think bother me – which I seem to still have a problem with! And a big thank you to Pat from the comment above – that is the best comment EVER to a rude passenger and I am making mental note of it! Way to stand up for yourself and your child. Bravo.

  • I really enjoyed reading your article… it’s true that we should let go and not care what others think so much.. I’m woken up to that idea this year and it has really helped me grow as a person. Kudos to you for not letting nasty people get to you. I too bring my kids on aeroplane trips overseas and they are 1, 5 and 7.

  • It’s too bad you got that private email from an anti-child ranter. There are some people that can’t abide kids no matter how well behaved they are. I guess for me though the “I don’t care about how other people think” stops at not demonstrating common courtesy to others in public. I think everyone who travels on airplanes frequently has had at least one bad experience with other people’s kids on the plane, hence the automatic “cringing” when they seen one. Even though we have flown with our three young kids and I fully sympathize with how challenging it can be, I have occasionally had to fight the urge to throttle some parent who has decided that they don’t care enough about what others think to the point where they exert zero effort to deal with their out-of-control and obnoxious child. It only takes a few such people to generate the stereotype that kids on the plane = bad news.

    • I hate to agree on this but as a single person and frequent traveler I do cringe initially when kids sit near me. I’ve had my seat back kicked for hours by a 4 year old and heard children screaming through my ear plugs. We all deserve to fly and I sympathize with parents as it can’t be easy. But it does suck when you arrive exhausted from lack of sleep at your destination because of some kid. That said, I’ve also arrived tired from an adult with a chainsaw snoring, loud talkers, people that keep the lights on and seatmates that get into my personal space and elbow me frequently.
      People in general need to be more considerate when they fly. From not bringing ridiculous carry ons to realising they are basically bedding down with everyone in that 747 to managing their kids well.

      • “Not caring what people think” does not equate to having no respect for people. I know you don’t think that’s what Rachel meant, but just in case anyone else was wondering: our attitude isn’t, “what, our child’s screaming and kicking your back for the entire duration of a 10-hour flight? Too bad, we’re mavericks!”

        Being considerate of other people (while flying, or most any time) is normally a good decision, not because of what they might think of you otherwise. Just because it’s the right thing to do.

        • Agreed. My point was more that yes, kids can get crazy on a flight but so can adults. If I had to count it up, I would bet it has been more often adults that have been inconsiderate on flights, than parents letting their kids run wild up the aisles.

    • Amy, I completely agree. Common courtesy is a must. And while I don’t care to let myself worry over what others think of our choice to live without a car or live in a small flat, I would be upset by comments that my child was disrupting other diners or passengers. We’ve let a few meals in a hurry because Henry just wasn’t in the mood to sit in a high chair for the duration of a meal.

  • Rachel thanks for sharing this. You know a bit of my inside scoop on a similar situation that occurred to me online. I was mortified a few months ago when an online acquaintance started telling me their version of what people think about how I choose to live.

    I wanted to justify and explain myself to the world after that.

    I went into a bit of a tailspin and suddenly felt nervous and on the spot about what I shared online. I hadn’t expected such a hurtful response. Since that time I’ve tried to write about the experience, but never quite managed to hit the publish button.

    Kudos to you for sharing what I found incapable of writing, and kudos to you for having the confidence to put other people’s opinions in perspective. That is the real key here.

    p.s. I bet your boy travels wonderfully. :)

    • Thanks, Tanja. Comments like that are so hurtful and, as you know, not a representation of what most people think. You know from the wonderful response to your book and writing that you have a huge following of loyal readers.

      Good to hear from you! I will have to send you an email soon. :)

  • Good post!I lived in my car for about 5 years so I’m pretty much immune to what people think or say! People are programmed by so many factors and are often so harried and busy they just don’t have the luxury of time to think about/ponder any lifestyle that may be different. I’ve actually come to a point where I feel bad for the folks that have turned up a nose at our style of living, while burying themselves deeper and deeper into that trap. Nice work in going car free- bicycles are the only area I csn’t simplify ha!

    • Wow. I bet living in your car puts the worries or care about what other people think right out of your mind. Thanks for the kudos on going car-free. Still loving it. Fingers crossed we keep making it work through the winter.

  • Good for you Rachel. You seem to be not just mature but self-confident as well.
    A very timely post, I just put my 7 -year-old on a flight to visit his grandparents. This is the first time he’s flying alone…you can imagine some of the comment we’re getting letting a child fly as an unaccompanied minor.

  • Havn’t read all of the comments but i agree with what i have read. I don’t give a flying fig what people think of me or my choices in life. The way i see it is they have two choices, the can like it or dislike it, either way i don’t care. I spent too many years worrying about what people thought of me and felt i had to justify my decisions, it wore me out. I have a tatoo on my back ‘Only god can judge me’ That’s it, my life, my choices.

    I really can’t see the problem with travelling with Henry, i sometimes wonder if we really have moved on from victorian times, when children should be seen and not heard!!!

    Where are you going in Turkey??
    Sharron x

    • Thanks, Sharron.

      Turkey: we’re thinking of touring around for a week and then going to a resort on the Mediterranean. Probably somewhere around Antalya (sp?). Still researching and daydreaming on it. They say half the enjoyment of a trip is the build up to going. :)

  • It does takes a certain mindset to enter and journey along the path of minimalism. There are always those that will question what we are all doing as minimalists. I think that this is not usually meant to be malicious, but mainly comes from seeing things done in a new way. For the most part, I think that the way we choose to live inspires others and shows the many benefits of living a minimalist lifestyle.

  • I aspire to be more authentic and not care what people think. It’s hard! Sometimes I feel like two different people, the polite, agreeable one with acquaintances, and the blunt, outspoken one with close friends & family.

    We got a birthday party invitation for our four year old and it had a daring statement on it: “No presents please, we really mean it!” I love that attitude and wish I felt like we could get away with it for Christmas!

  • “You should stay at home or leave your son with a relative???” What?! I’m sorry, but I find this so funny. Geez, what kind of parents are you – wanting to expose the outside world to your son and maybe teach him/show him some new things. (Hope you get the sarcasm there!) “Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind, don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.:

  • My personal baby challenge was to fly with my 5 month old daughter while on maternity leave from Vancouver to Toronto…by myself. We used points to upgrade to executive class, which at first I felt guilty…but this was all about comfort for me and my daughter. When I sat down, the man beside me rolled his eyes and huffed. In my mind confirmed my guilt and worry. I took a deep breath and blurted out with a smile, “Are we your worst nightmare?” I tried to make a joke of it. He surprised me and said, “No, he was thinking about something else.” At least this broke the ice. He was a gentleman throughout the entire flight and my baby was a dream boat.

    • No way! I did the exact same thing when my son was 4 months old. Vancouver to Toronto via Winnepeg in first class (yeah Aeroplan points!). My son was a dream as well. That is a great age to fly.

  • Thanks for this post. I have been worrying about what one of our relatives thinks for years and it has made me miserable at times. This post was helpful to look back and realize how much of my time and energy was spent in frustration because of how they treated us. Thanks!

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