20 Nov The Power of Not Giving A F%$@
Everyone says that when you hit 30, you experience some sort of life enlightenment that changes you for the better. 3 years ago, at 29 years old, I called bullshit on that theory because I knew plenty of people who had well surpassed 30 and were still in need of some major enlightening. However, when I actually turned 30, something DID change. I stopped giving a fuck about what people thought of me. I know you have questions, so let me explain.
You see, all my life I cared what other people thought about me. My classmates, my neighbors, co-workers, boys I had crushes on, fellow moms – everybody. So much so that I would tailor my own wants and needs to fit the image that would deem me to be most “likable”. I changed A LOT and morphed myself into what I thought society needed me to be so I could be accepted. And everyone’s opinion, no matter how close we were, was taken into deep consideration. This manner of thinking and what I like to call “self-suppression” went on well into my adult years. By the time I hit 30, I didn’t even know who I truly was anymore.
On the eve of my 30th birthday, I did what I think most of us do when hitting an age milestone. I reflected on what I had done with my life. It’s not a planned thing. It just sort of happens. It is also a very humbling experience because you’re literally facing your past and asking yourself what you’ve accomplished. At that point, I had a lot to be proud of. I was married with three beautiful kids, about to buy a house, had awesome credit, along with a good job and great friends and family. Yet, I still felt like those things wouldn’t be impressive enough to other people.
Let’s run that back again. In MY moment of life reflection, I solely cared about what OTHER people thought about my life. Do you see how incredibly fucked up that is? I couldn’t even ponder on my life’s accomplishments without factoring in the thoughts of others. Even worse than that, after what seemed like hours of soul searching, I couldn’t figure out who I was. What kind of clothes do I like to wear? What was my favorite pastime? What music did I really like? I had changed almost every element of myself to be “liked” (figuratively and social media wise).
Although it felt shitty to realize I cared so much about what other people thought of me, it forced me to realize that I desperately needed to make a change. It was like someone hit me upside my head with a cast iron pan full of self-love. I woke up the morning of my 30th birthday and decided I would try something new that year. I was going to stop giving a fuck about anyone’s opinion… well… anyone but my own, of course?
Now, before I go on, I want to make one thing clear. I didn’t just start walking around, saying and doing whatever I wanted with no regard for how my actions would affect other people and their feelings. That’s just a dick move and totally not me. When I say I stopped giving a fuck, I mean that I decided my life would no longer be dictated by the opinions others. “Hey. Look at me. I’m the captain now.”
How did I start my no-fucks-given lifestyle? I decided to put my life, my real life, on front street. Not because I cared about what other people thought, but because I wanted to be honest about MY life and clear up any misconceptions I created. So, I wrote my first blog post. And instead of painting this picture perfect idea that I was a super organized and patient mom and wife who had no insecurities, I told the truth. I’m a never on time, always forgets important school dates, goes days without washing my hair, cries a lot, super petty, has an eclectic taste in music, barely holding it together woman who also happens to be a pretty cool mom, wife and human being.
Once I clicked “Publish” it felt like a weight had been lifted from my shoulders. For the first time in a very, very long time, I was completely honest about who I was and I didn’t care what other people thought about it. I finally felt like me- the real me. And I could care less whether people liked it or not.
Not giving a fuck is not for the faint of heart. It requires making some big changes which can be very difficult to do. My decision to no longer give a fuck forced me to evaluate my friendships and acquaintances. Why you ask? Because I had to distance myself from anyone who made me second guess who I was and what I wanted. How can you start putting more love and care into yourself, if you’re surrounded by people who don’t accept you for you? It’s easy to ignore the negative opinions of complete strangers, but often times the harshest opinions come from those in your inner circle.
This was reeeeaaaallly tough for me, because I love my friends so very much. They all become a part of my family. But some made me feel like all my decisions were bad decisions. I found myself forgoing my own thoughts and opinions just to follow theirs. So, after much thought, I had to distance myself and end a few friendships. I’m not going to lie, it was tough, but necessary. I only kept the friends who genuinely accepted me for the wonky and weird person I really am. It’s crazy how much stress and negative thinking can sometimes come in the form of a friendship. After the initial sadness of losing a friend, I actually felt… lighter.
Disclaimer: Getting rid of the negative people in your life does not mean you surround yourself with “yes” people. It means you surround yourself with people who uplift love you the most, but are also able to offer constructive criticism, when necessary.
While on this new journey of self-rediscovery and non-fuckery, I realized that the theory of completely shutting out everyone else’s suggestions and ideas, although empowering, was a little extreme. I think it’s still very important to consider the thoughts and opinions of those most important to you. The term “consider” is key here. Your opinion should matter most. Period. However, you should respect the advice given to you by a trusted friend/family member who you know is offering you advice from a good place. Even though you’re free to make your own decisions in life, the decision you’re making could be a bad one. Doesn’t mean you have to take the advice, but listening doesn’t hurt and can possibly help you in the long run. It’s all about balance, baby.
The hardest part about this glorious new lifestyle I adopted? Shutting up my fiercest critic – me. Learning when to ignore my own negative thoughts and opinions has been one hell of a ride. Although I stopped caring about the opinions of others, sometimes I hyper focus on my flaws and put unnecessary stress and pressure on myself. And it’s still something I’m working very hard to manage now.
I’m always comparing myself to everyone else and then telling myself why I’m undeserving. Why did they get that and you didn’t even though you work so hard? You decided to drop out of college, so you have no right to complain. You’re not doing half the things those other moms are doing because you’re a bad mom. You’re getting old and it’s starting to show. I didn’t even notice how harsh I was on myself until I tuned everyone else out. I was a real bitch to myself. And sometimes I just gotta tell that bitch to shut the fuck up.
Now, every time I think a negative thought about myself, I replace it with a positive. Whenever I don’t get chosen for an opportunity, I don’t complain- I just say that God has an even better blessing coming my way. Whenever I’m hard on myself for dropping out of college I think about the fact that Ellen DeGeneres and Steve Jobs did too and look at how successful they’ve been. Whenever I question my parenting I just remind myself that the mom from Home Alone forgot all about her son and hopped on a flight so I can’t be that bad. And whenever I’m feeling insecure about getting older or the way I look, I just lick my finger and tap my ass, just so I can hear it sizzle to remind myself that I’m hot shit.
The best word to describe my life now is free. I am 100% in charge of my narrative and free of the pressures society puts on us, essentially, to be perfect. I’ve reached this level of confidence and comfort within myself that I never had before. When I meet new people- I give them the real me. If they don’t like it they can kick rocks. I no longer lose sleep due to the opinions of others. I’ve never felt so empowered in my entire life.
So, if you’re in a funky place in life and don’t know how to emotionally dig yourself out, consider doing what I did. Throw all caution and fucks to the wind and don’t look back. It’s honestly the best decision I’ve ever made in my life.