Recently, my husband and I were chowing down on some Friday night nachos and binge watching some Netflix, specifically the show GLOW (Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling.) It's about a washed-up director who agrees to make a television show about female wrestlers. At one point, he's talking to a woman who is distraught over how others perceive her. His rough-edged advice is at once both amusing and profoundly wise. He says, "Try not giving a f***. There's a lot of power in that."
His message isn't delivered in a belligerent or angry way. It isn't contrived or sanctimonious. Rather, it's authentic and experienced. It's even a bit compassionate. It's about survival and disconnecting from what the rest of the world thinks about you, or what you think they think about you.
Since that nacho-laced episode, I've often thought about that multi-purpose advice. I've given it, too, albeit with a caveat to excuse the vernacular. When a close friend was worried about a petty co-worker's gossiping, I said, "Try not giving a f*ck. There's a lot of power in that." When a client was embarrassed her neighbour had found out about her marriage problems, I said, "Try not giving a f***. There's a lot of power in that."
And in both cases — lucky for me — the recipient of the advice took it in the spirit it was intended. To liberate. To empower. To find perspective.
Of course, we all need to care about a lot of things. The sentiment isn't an excuse to become a self-important jerk. Rather, it provides protection from the self-important jerks out there. So, if you've ever felt like you invest too much time, effort and emotion into worrying about what other people think — or even just worrying in general — here are eight life-changing reasons to stop caring:
- You'll lose your addiction to your phone. You'll be able to achieve such amazing feats as having an entire conversation without looking down at your phone, worried you might miss a text or email.
- You will be happier and healthier. Reducing your "worry load" also reduces your cortisol levels and risk of suffering from a plethora of medical problems, from high blood pressure to heart disease.
- You will have more freedom and confidence to move ahead in life. Worrying about what other people think of you puts limits on your opinions, choices and behaviours. It imprisons you. You will also learn to start leaving the past in the past. If a co-worker or in-law says something nasty, you won't spend hours (or years) reliving the experience. Instead, you'll create new experiences.
- You will learn to live in the moment. Instead of rushing to post that perfectly-filtered picture of your kid on the swings or that "amazing!" cup of cappuccino onto social media, you will actually enjoy the experience as it happens. Once you stop serving the almighty "like" or "thumbs up," you will realize the virtual world is a pathetic replacement for the real world, and you will reclaim your private life.
- You will learn more about yourself. When you are free to think, feel and act in the ways that you want, you become a whole person — the real you. As a bonus, you will become a more interesting person both to yourself and to those who really matter.
- You will have more time to do what you want. You will be able to read an article online without losing hours scrolling through other people's comments looking for validation or waging a comment war with an obnoxious stranger. You will feel less obligated to spend time with people you don't really want to be around, or who bring you down.
- You will set a good example for your children. If you don't want your kids to be preoccupied with anxiety, image or concern about what other people think, then lead the way. Kids do what they see.
- You will have a better relationship with your spouse. When you get your priorities straight and focus more on your spouse than on other people, you will find that your marriage becomes stronger, sexier and more fun. You will find your own identity as a couple instead of trying to keep up appearances or conform.
More from Debra Macleod:
Most of the time, we're told that we should care more. We should care more about each other, about ourselves, about the environment, about what happens in the world. That is absolutely true.
But it's also true that caring less has a role in our lives. And if you give yourself some time to really think about what you should care more about, and what you should care less about, you may find you strike a balance that makes each day just a little better.
Visit DebraMacleod.com for more info.
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