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  • Writer's pictureSamantha McMullen

"So what?" The ultimate ULTIMATE comeback

My gateway to buddhism was the book "When Things Fall Apart," by American Buddhist Monk Pema Chodron (10/10 recommend, I discuss it further in this blog post).

Shortly after that was the revelation that my favorite DBT concepts, such as Radical Acceptance and Mindfulness, were actually at their core Buddhist teachings. WOW. Face palm moment. Anyways....

Radical Acceptance is the belief that by accepting the things in life that are outside of our control and often cause us pain, we can decrease our suffering.

Simply put: Pain x Resistance = Suffering

and thus

Pain x Acceptance= a life without Suffering

Life is already hard enough, so by practicing Radical Acceptance, we can at the very least not add on to our burdens.

Radical Acceptance is not an easy practice however, scores of books by Pema Chodron and other authors attempt to help us find ways to practice this, through mindfulness, through compassion, and through living with an open heart. In short, Radical Acceptance is a lot of work, so-as teased in my previous blog post, I give you my short cut:

"So what?"

So what if that guy passed you unnecessarily on the way home, so what if that person at work made another rude comment, so what if that person walking their dog gave you a weird look?

Are you alive, are you breathing, are you here? Okay then.

You have a choice to add fuel to the fire (to multiple pain by resistance to create suffering) and complain to anyone who will listen about the above offenses, analyze them, interpret them, and tie all kinds of meaning to them when at the end of the day, they are just things that happened. So what?

"This being human is a guest house. Every morning a new arrival. A joy, a depression, a meanness, Some momentary awareness comes as an unexpected visitor. Welcome and entertain them all! … The dark thought, the shame, the malice, meet them at the door laughing, and invite them in. Be grateful for whoever comes, because each has been sent as a guide from beyond." -Rumi

This practice of Radical Acceptance, with "So what" and "So what-isms" is a tool to aid in detaching from resistance that causes unnecessary suffering.

You can use it with others, for instance:

Someone says, "Hey your outfit is lame."

You come back with, "So what?"

You can use it with yourself, for instance:

An anxious part of you thinks,"What if I mess up during my work presentation?

An empowered part of you replies,"So what?"

Are the situations you can think of from your past where a "So what-ism" might have been helpful?

What about your present?

Is there anything you can release by saying "So what?" to it?

What about your future?

Are there any situations that tend to activate suffering you that might prefer the freedom of a "So what?"

If you aren't in physical danger and it is a safe environment, how would it feel to give this ultimate ULTIMATE comeback a try?

If you are interested in learning more about ways to practice Radical Acceptance, contact me through my website, email me at or call me at 818-465-8516.

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