Updated: Jan 17, 2021
Oh the title says it all! Living for ourselves and not allowing others to affect our decision making, is freedom at its finest!
We are the only ones that should ever decide how we feel about ourselves or the things we believe in. Ultimately, no one needs to understand you, but you.
In a system like ours filled with pressure, insecurity and expectation, it can be easy to slide down the slippery slope of caring what others think more than what you do! Here's my enlightening tale on how to avoid this downwards spiral to unfulfillment...
"Our crisis is no longer material; it's existential, it's spiritual. We have so much fucking stuff and so many opportunities that we don't even know what to give a fuck about anymore" - Mark Manson
Yes, I completely hijacked the title of this post and for anyone who hasn't read that book by Mark Manson, it's a great read by the way! A big thanks to my sister for getting it for me. I had to steal the title for this post though, because it's just so fitting and couldn't be more me! Not caring about the inconsequential in life, is in fact an art! I think we are all guilty, especially when we are young, of caring about so many things that don't truly matter in life.
We care what we look like to other people, what people think of us, what other's do and how they are, what we think people expect or perceive of us, and whether or not it is all accepted or judged. We don't express all we should and hold back much of what we think and who we truly are. We are trained to think that's how we are supposed to be.
We are completely affected and deeply imprinted from childhood by so many people in our environment, and by the environment itself. Our system has this invisible "rulebook" set in place, as if there is only one way to think, to live and to be. In a nutshell, we are super conditioned from the time we are born! Most of us not remotely realizing how much.
Our entire lives have been dictated to us over time, involuntarily and completely unbeknownst to most of us. First from our parents (God love them), and then from everyone else we encounter after their initial influence; other kids, siblings, teachers, parents, family, strangers, the media, government systems etc. We are completely brainwashed by the time we are old enough to begin remotely understanding anything about the world.
As kids, we know we have to be what the adults around us expect us to be. We are the recipients of countless information pumped into us and inadvertently forced onto us, slowly shaping and warping the way we think and develop. We don't even know we are absorbing all of everyone else's thoughts and opinions around us, subconsciously convincing ourselves they are our very own!
It isn't until we are teens, that most of us remotely start to shy away from this conditioning and are condemned for "rebelling". We are starting to come into our own and begin realizing we are so much more than what has been expected of us all this time. We are starting to learn ourselves. We have opinions all of a sudden, we are contrarians. We are "misbehaving" or "breaking the rules", because all of a sudden we are questioning ourselves, the people closest to us and our environment.
Basically, we are starting to learn who we are and realizing it's not all of what we've been taught, if at all! The problem is, most people who start to learn themselves and come to recognize that they differ from said expected societal "norm", fail to have the strength to go against the grain and remain true to their authentic selves onwards. A continual inner battle that follows them most of their lives.
This is where the ART comes in; learning how to honestly not give a shit and just do YOU anyway! Yes, easier said than done, I know. I have seen so many good souls live unauthentically most of their lives. Following the proverbial "rulebook" to a T.
Following the system as expected, and all of the people around them. Conforming to what society has set in place for us all to abide by. Many of us actually thinking we agree with it all. Following, and never questioning. Spending our days making decisions according to what others think around us or will accept of us.
Continuing the momentum of lack of self-knowledge and stagnation, instead of actually digging deep and figuring out all we truly feel and believe in life. Uncovering what would truly make us happy, even if it's a life that looks nothing like others around us. If this sounds familiar don't worry, definitely no judgement here. We have all been there and for some, self-discovery may come a little later in life. It's never too late to begin living any way your deepest heart desires to.
This difficulty or inability for most of us to follow our souls is just a very real observation I have made over the years. I have analyzed people for as long as I can remember, and yes, am a complete self-proclaimed psychologist! But in all honesty I have just always read people well, connected to them deeply and understood so much of the human psyche and how we end up this way. Don't ask me how, old soul I guess! Just a natural talent I have possessed since I was old enough to notice. Perhaps I was a shrink in a past life!
Now the art of not giving a fuck, comprises of many things...
Consciously looking inside your soul and learning exactly what YOU think, who YOU are, and what YOU truly want when it comes to everything. Truly acknowledging all of the ways you've been conditioned and all of the factors and people that contributed to that programming. Slowly working on undoing those many instilled patterns. Learning how much of it all is really you, and how much is what the system and people in your environment have made you believe is your truth. Peeling back the layers of who you really are.
It's being perfectly comfortable with all that you uncover about yourself, and knowing you are exactly who you need to be and are meant to be. It's accepting we are all a work in progress and it's okay to be where you are. It's expressing yourself authentically when things just go against every fiber of your being.
It's fighting to the death for what you know to be right, even if you're the only one standing there. It's taking the actions necessary to obtain your true happiness, even if it goes against everything and everyone around you. It's being shamelessly honest, and knowing you always have a right to be about anything you have on your mind.
It's just wholeheartedly loving yourself enough to know that your opinion matters as much as anyone else's, and you owe yourself to share it with whoever needs to be hearing it. Being authentically yourself really is the greatest art, and truest way to actually be happy in life.
When you can do all of the above, it is the truest form of freedom. Some are better at it than others, for some it just comes more naturally. But trying each day to be a little more of an honest version of yourself, is where you start. When you find yourself going against your soul or caring about things you honestly shouldn't, ask yourself why. And don't stop digging until you truly get to the root of why.
If you do, you'll realize that society, the media, your parents, your kids, friends, lovers, teachers etc... are the real reasons why you're caring about things you honestly shouldn't be caring about. Things that take you away from you learning more about the real you.
Don't let yourself get caught up in other's insignificant opinions or the feelings of shame and judgement you've put on yourself because of them. If you steer clear of all of that, you'll see that it's always about what others will think, how you will look, or someone else's expectations of you that is the root of why you limit yourself from doing all that's truly in your heart.
It is important to realize that you are born with a unique journey to see out, and that your life and everything that happens in it, is about YOU and YOUR JOURNEY. You deserve self-love and respect. You deserve to not live a life according to what other people want for you over what you want for yourself. To not live a life that in any way goes against your soul.
We all experience things, to learn from them. We are judged, put down, hurt, and challenged. We deal with shit from other people so we as people, reach a higher evolution. A better version of ourselves. People-pleasing and avoiding conflict at all cost doesn't make us the "good guy", and it's certainly not being true to ourselves. Life is full of challenge and conflict, and rightfully so. The most essential part of all of it is self-growth, and by far the most valuable purpose of our existence as humans.
Don't be hard on yourself. Choices are so individual and each person needs to make the right ones for themselves. Judgement is there so we learn to love ourselves despite all of it. Not to teach us to go against our souls at all cost trying to avoid it! We are all different and what we need, how we think, how we live and the choices we make also are.
If you know yourself and truly accept yourself, you are so easily able to not care if anyone else does. You are honestly your greatest fan, greatest friend and biggest supporter. We all need to find out who we are and not care about what anyone else thinks about it! Even the ones closest to us that we love most, don't always have to understand or support us.
Each person's journey is on them. Their choices, actions, emotions and opinions, also are. No one is meant to understand you or your journey, but you. As long as you have yourself, the real you, you have all you need!