The Art of not giving a fuck: Today I was perusing the shelves of my local bookshop. A gift voucher in hand. Thrillers are my usual go-to; nothing beats a plot-twisting gol (gasp out loud), edge of the seat page turner but today something else caught my eye. A book entitled The Life-Changing Magic Of Not Giving A Fuck by Sarah Knight. Intrigued I had a quick flick through and discovered the gist of it was advice on spending more time on the things you care about and less on what you don’t. Further investigation revealed not one but two more books with the F-word in their titles. Fuck Feelings: Less Obsessing, More Living, by Dr Michael and Sarah Bennettt and Fuck It – The Ultimate Spiritual Way, by John C Parkin. There seems to be quite the demand for learning to not give a fuck.
Whether we like to admit it or not the majority of us do care what other people think. Even if we are not aware of it. Our emotions, actions and behaviours are often shaped by how we think others perceive us. People pleasing, fear of judgement, over accommodating and anxiety can all be emotions and behaviours linked to caring too much about what others think of us.
These unwanted feelings and actions serve no purpose. Other than to take us further away from being in touch with ourselves and what we really want out of life. It can cause internal conflict. Stunting a person’s inherent ability to get in touch with what they need for their own personal growth.
Spending a lot of time getting completely caught up in what others think can become mentally exhausting. Taking up energy that could be directed elsewhere. How many hours or days are lost to dwelling on people’s judgements. What opportunities are lost by not giving something a go from the fear of what others would say. There’s probably more than a few of those moments in my own past.
One of the biggest life lessons I have had to learn is that it’s impossible to make everyone like me. As the saying goes ‘ you can’t please all of the people all of the time’. It wasn’t until became ill that I fully learnt this lesson. When I found myself physically incapable of accommodating everyone and everything I slowly began to learn to say no. At first, I found this incredibly uncomfortable. I felt guilty at putting my own needs first and would often feel the need to explain myself.
On reflection, it’s clear that I gained a lot of self-worth and value from pleasing others. That by always making myself available and doing things for others I was trying to make people like me. As time has gone on, I have grown more at ease with my new attitude towards life and I have become more content within my own skin.These days I find I am living my life caring much less about the outside world’s perception of me.
Before moving on further on this subject. I like to invite you to take a moment to gauge where you are on the ‘Give a Fuck–O-Metre’ by considering these questions.Do you…
- Often find yourself saying Yes to doing things you don’t really want to do?
- Tend to consider what others would think of you before acting on something?
- Pretend to enjoy things or agree with other people just to fit in?
- Feel you’re not free to be the person you really are on the inside?
If the answers to the above are a resounding yes then here are a few things to ponder when considering moving towards not giving a Fuck about what people think.
Stop over thinking
It is a complete waste of time and energy trying to second guess what others might be thinking. How they might react. Try to avoid making assumptions about what is driving someone’s thoughts or behaviour. You are not them. You will never ever totally be able to fathom another person’s motives or what is going on inside their head.
Try to consider the possibility that the majority of people aren’t even concerned with what you are doing, wearing etc. Most people have busy lives with their own issues. They more than likely won’t even notice the things you are silently stressing about.
Be respectful of your own values
Take time to discover what you stand for. What your value system is and try to stick to your guns when faced with situations that have the potential to derail you. When you’re more in touch with who you really are and confident in what you believe in then you are less likely to care what others think.
Learn to say no
Make your own choices based on what feels right for you, don’t be afraid to say no to people or turn down offers if they don’t sit comfortably with you. Try not to allow others to pressure you into doing things that ‘go against the grain’. Firstly remember you do not need to give anyone an explanation ( this took me a long time to learn). A simple ‘No, I’m sorry I can’t make it’ will suffice rather than trying to make up some elaborate excuse. Since this only has the potential to land you in hot water or make you feel crappy for telling a big fat lie.
Take a leaf
We all know that one person who we secretly admire for doing what is best for their well-being. A friend of mine has no problem with cancelling plans if she wakes up feeling rubbish. In the past, I often used to drag myself to events because I believed I’d be letting people down. That they would think ill of me. The reality was that the only ill feelings were my own physical ones. These days I make like my friend and I put myself first much more.
By emulating the behaviour of someone we’d quite like to be like we can try on for size what its like to experience things in a different light and see how it works for us.
Others are not responsible for your life plan. Trust in your own ability to live your own life for you. Learnt to trust in your own judgements as to what is right for you and what will enable you to fulfil your potential. Most of all know that you are your own expert.
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