The global HR community has a ritual of sharing advent blogs. The 2021 theme is 'It doesn't matter.'
This topic prompted some thoughts, and led to some potential coping strategies that we share here to help with relationships and self-worth over the festive season and beyond.
It doesn't matter as a lie or a truth withheld
’It doesn’t matter’ may be an accurate assertion but also it can be both a lie that we tell ourselves and a truth that we withhold.
Either of these contexts is not healthy, and that does matter.
It doesn’t matter as a lie
When ‘it doesn’t matter’ manifests as a lie it might be that we start to believe that our work doesn’t matter, our opinion doesn’t matter, our mistreatment by someone else doesn’t matter.
Our inner voice may say ‘it doesn’t matter’ as a lie to forgive ourselves of own shortcomings such as forgetting, interrupting, doing something half baked, and yet deep down a feeling of wrongdoing dwells.
We may actually say ‘it doesn’t matter’ as a lie in response to an apology, or excuse because we think somehow that little lie will make someone else feel better.
‘It doesn’t matter’ is the imposter here. Not you.
If a situation or action is affecting your self-worth, it always matters.
Thinking, pretending, trying to convince yourself, even saying that it doesn’t matter will rob you of the opportunity to go beyond the harm that ‘it doesn’t matter’ brings.
Reframing can help.
Instead of ‘It doesn’t matter’ as a lie, try to reframe as ‘It matters to me and ….’
What comes next will depend on what you need.
It could be an affirmation, ‘It matters to me and …. I’m proud of it , I’ve learned from it, I’ll keep going, I stand by it, I regret it ……’ or it might be an intention,
‘It matters to me and …. I’ll ask for feedback, I’ll set boundaries, I’ll report it, I’ll apologise for it, I’ll forgive it …’
When ‘It doesn’t matter’ shows up as a lie, the most important thing is to call it out. No matter if they are new or lingering feelings, you can rid yourself of negativity that is brought about by ‘it doesn’t matter’ as a lie.
It doesn’t matter as a truth withheld
‘It does matter’ clings to past regret that we don’t let go. It can easily amplify and consume our thoughts.
How we feel about that past thing can be changed by the way that we allow it back in, and ‘It doesn’t matter’ can become an ally here.
When something past is eating at you, try letting loose ‘It doesn’t matter’ as the truth you have been withholding.
To do this simply add ‘today’ or ‘now’.
It doesn’t matter today because I won’t do that again.
It doesn’t matter now because I’m building bridges as best I can
It doesn’t matter now that I am focussing on … this report, this months’ sales, this new goal, this behaviour … etc
Releasing ‘it doesn’t matter now’ as a challenger to past regret may not work first time.
Keep flipping your narrative and eventually, those past regrets will lose their grip on your today and tomorrow.
Completing the sentence
'It doesn't matter' needs to be put into context to serve us well.
Think of it as a trigger for thought, not a statement of fact.
When 'It doesn't matter' shows up as a lie or withheld truth, consider contextualising it in the ways that we've outlined here.
And please share in the comments if you find that doing so helps.