Why You Need To Mind Your Own Business

I think we can all agree that many children have otherworldly brilliance.

There are examples of this all over the place.

My favorite is that of little Rose, who gave her father a piece of sage advice, off the cuff, while she was busy fastening the seatbelt over her carseat.

When asked if she needed help with her task, she said, “Worry about yourself.”

When he persisted, asking her again if she needed anything, she said, “No. No thank you.”

When he asked, “What do you want me to do?”


She replied, with a little bit of annoyance, “Worry about yourself!”

Rose has a lot figured out.


Her statement makes me think about what happens in the context of a lot of relationships, and certainly at the end of most relationships (be they romantic, platonic, or familial).

We worry.

We worry that the other person is doing better without us.

We worry that the other person isn’t doing well at all without us.

We worry that we exposed too much of the “worst” parts of ourselves in the context of the relationship.

We worry that we shared too much of the “best” parts of ourselves in the context of the relationship.

We worry that we look like ridiculous to other people who have ideas about the nature and function of the relationship or our competency in love and life.

We worry that we’re the butt of jokes or disdain in the mind of the ex, their family, and friends.

The list goes on and on.


All this worrying seems like reflection. It seems to be a good use of time after a breakup or breakdown. However, it’s not. Worrying about other’s opinions, needs, interests, or expectations is not reflection. Reflection is specific and intensely personal. It’s looking back, for a designated period of time, on what you did, where you are, who you were, and where you’re going. It’s wise to reflect on your role in relationship. It’s wise to understand yourself as the common denominator in all of your relationships. This is a mature and accurate understanding of events. These steps are smart and will provide you with good information about your beliefs, your patterns, and your subsequent course of action. They’ll help you see what’s happening with you and what you can do about it…for you, with you.


However, worrying about other people (their opinions, their needs, their interests, their expectations…their habits, their shortcomings, their strengths, their problems, their whereabouts, their attitude, their gripes, and their sorrows) won’t get you closer to solving the mysteries of your Self, your life, your love. Worrying about someone won’t give you the insight you think you’re getting into the big picture of your life. You will not get the whole story by worrying about someone else.


***Your personal reflection will tell you YOUR business, not THEIR business, and that’s all you need to know.***


It’s very important to mind your own business. The people in your past (and your present) have their own stuff to sort out.


They have their own shortcomings, strengths, weaknesses, talents, gifts, and flawed systems, just like you. It’s likely that some of the people you’re worrying about are trying to kill you, anyway. They’re on their own journey, learning their own lessons (which they can share with you, if they choose…and they might…or they might not).

All of their stuff is not for you to know, manage, help, or heal. As a partner, your job is to assist and collaborate, not take over and mandate.


It’s very, very, very important to draw visible lines, healthy boundaries, and make expectations explicit and clear, whenever they’re warranted.

It’s very important to know where you end and where someone else begins. It’s very important to mind your own business.

I could end here, for those who are satisfied. If you’re not, keep reading. If you’re not, you’re probably holding onto something I might be able to help with (someone else did this for me when I was a worrier).


Not worrying does not mean not caring.

Not worrying means not spinning out of control.


If you’re currently or recently in relational transition, and you’re minding someone else’s business (e.g. Is she Ok? Is he Ok? Is he talking about me? Is she thinking about me? What would he say if he bumped into me on the street? Does she want me to call? He cheated; he lied. She wasn’t affectionate; she was boring. They said this about me; they did this without me. Did she get that promotion? Did she celebrate with someone else? Did he ever take that trip? Did he take the new girlfriend with him? Did they have fun? Are they still together??) and not minding YOUR business, stop.


Most of this is business. It’s just not all yours.

You need to worry about yourself and mind your own business.

If you just can’t let it go (I’ve been there too), let’s indulge, for a second.

If you consider the idea that they made some mistakes in the relationship, you’d be right.

So did you.

Notice yours and leave theirs. Don’t pick theirs up. They’re not yours. Worry about yourself. Mind your own business.

If you consider the idea that he could have tried harder at various times…she could have been more forthcoming at other times, he could have been more attentive, she could have been more fun…well…maybe he could have…maybe her too.

Surely, so could you.

Reflect on your perceived strengths and weaknesses. Don’t excessively hover over their perceived strengths and weaknesses. They’re not yours. Worry about yourself. Mind your own business.

If perhaps your shadow effect drew in the unhealthy dynamic you endured, then notice the lesson in your way of believing and being and commit yourself to regarding that lesson with respect (you withstood a lot; you’re a powerhouse). Regard that lesson with a sensitive awareness (Life happened through you, not to you). Regard that lesson with sincere gratitude (your dis-ease and dis-order have been revealed and now you can be healed). Then go about the work of doing you. Worry about yourself. Mind your own business.

***And, remember: Imagining yourself as a problem or a screw up is a fallacy.***


No one is always anything and never something else.


Maybe you have a problem. Maybe you made mistakes. These statements are probably both true.

However, it’s erroneous to say you ARE a problem or you ARE a mistake.


No way.

Not possible.

Saying you ARE a problem or a mistake is the conclusion that comes from worrying about other people, minding other people’s business, and calling it yours. The key is to acknowledge errors in your thoughts, words, and actions and also not condemn yourself.

No one is always anything and never something else.


That means, you can see what you might call a sketchy or unstable past (and what you call it is the only label that really matters, by the way) and also call it useful — an indication of your giantess.

No one is always anything and never something else.

You are a supernatural being. Don’t neglect yourself; that’s illegal. There’s more to you than your past. There’s more to you than your past. There. Is. More. To. You. Than. Your. Past. There’s more to you than what you’ve done, or not done, seen or not seen, had or not had, experienced or not experienced. After (or while) you mourn what was, keep it in this perspective:

You can only really worry about yourself. It’s really important to mind your own business. Why? Because you can only truly be in charge of you. Your purview is limited to yourself. You’re only given half the story and that’s the only part that counts right now. You’re in charge of how you tell the story. Being as honest, mature, and fair as possible is what will order your healing constructively. It won’t happen if you’re worrying about someone else and minding someone else’s business. So, in the words of baby Rose…

Worry about yourself.

Mind your own business and be free.

#SupremeLoveTaughtMeThis #SupremeLoversUnite


Jeanine Staples is Associate Professor of Literacy and Language, African American Studies, & Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at the Pennsylvania State University. Her book, The Revelations of Asher: Toward Supreme Love in Self, is an endarkened, feminist, new literacies event (Peter Lang, 2016). In it, she explores Black women’s t/Terror in love. She produces research-based courses and methodologies that enable marginalized girls and women to realize internal revelations that fuel external revolutions.


Dr. Staples’ next book details the evolution of her acclaimed undergraduate course, The Philadelphia Urban Seminar. In it, she explores Supreme Love in schools. She shows how she generates curriculum and methodologies that incite anti-racist, anti-sexist, anti-ableist pedagogical stances among teachers interested in urban education and equity for all people in schools and society.


Click here to join the Supreme Love Project group to ask Jeanine questions and comment on the blog.