Just started the book, The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F*ck.” So far, I love it. It makes enormous sense to me: You have a finite amount of fucks to give, so if you’re sharing them out like candy on stuff you really don’t care about you’ll eventually run out and not have any left for the things you DO care about. This is where I’m at right now. I’ve doled out all my fucks on things like eating local, eating organic, reading to the girls, limiting TV time to 1 hour, learning to draw, learning to paint, cleaning the house, making a chore chart, making sure my kids DO their chores, teaching my kids responsible spending, keeping to my (money) budget, cooking whole food instead of convenience food, going to church to please my parents, getting rid of stuff, following a minimalist lifestyle, exercising regularly, getting up earlier, meditating, doing yoga, putting up with my boss’s craziness, helping my husband with HIS boss’s craziness, learning to quilt so I can finally turn the five bags of baby clothes into quilts for my girls and me, keeping up board game night, keeping up movie night, cleaning the basement, pulling weeds, dealing with chronic neck pain, spending quality time with my husband, writing daily, writing/editing my book(s), brush/feed/clean up after the cat, brush the girls’ hair (or make sure they brush it themselves), keep essentials stocked in the house, RSVP for birthday parties, get gifts, wash clothes, does Emma have a winter coat?, should I get her snow pants?, what if it doesn’t snow?, and in case it does snow I need to take the carport down, did I close the pool properly?, and we need to paint the swing-set again in the spring, and on and on and on.
I’m sure y’all have a very similar situation. The list of things to do/worry about/give a fuck about is endless. I could keep going, given enough time (and actually I will have to, so I can see just how many fucks are in my barn, sort them, and get rid of the ones I don’t really care about). The majority of fucks I have solely because I’m afraid of what someone would think of me if I didn’t give a fuck. And step one in the book is to stop giving a fuck about what other people think of you.
Easier said than done. I’m the kind of person who lives on praise. I love to hear someone giving me positive feedback. I work extra hard so someone will notice and say something. I’m just that way. So going from seeking praise to not giving a fuck is next to impossible. It’s something I’ll have to do gradually. There is hope though, because right before I started to read this book I had a very similar revelation on my own. I was at work and dealing with my boss’s insanity. I was almost sick with worry over what he thought of me and what I should do about it. (The worst part was I hadn’t actually done anything wrong). As I said, I was making myself sick worrying about what I should say or what I should do, or what he would do, when suddenly I realized, “What he thinks doesn’t matter!” More specifically I realized that I’ve been working so hard for the past few months to make myself happy. I’ve been doing things to try to take care of myself, so I can lead the kind of life I want. It came to me that if I spent my time worrying about my boss, to the point where I was making myself sick, I was doing the exact opposite of what I’ve been trying to achieve for so long. I realized that spending my time making myself sick over HIM was robbing ME of my health. As I put it then, “Wasting your time thinking about people who piss you off is like trying to comfort a sad friend by telling them how much they suck.” I’m already unhappy, why would I add to it by worrying about him and what he thinks? I need to take care of me. At that point I stopped caring about what he thought. I stopped giving a fuck. I turned my thoughts back to me and how I could help take care of me and make myself feel better. I almost laughed out loud when I started to read the book the next day and came across the instructions to do almost exactly what I’d done.
The problem with not giving a fuck is you can take it too far. You could become an ass (and I’ve done this, years ago when I thought I could just do or say whatever I wanted and not care what anyone else thought – it wasn’t pretty). But there’s another way you can overdo it: you can stop giving a fuck about ANYTHING. I’m afraid I was close to there yesterday. I just didn’t feel like doing or caring about anything. I could see that I wasn’t behaving like a responsible wife or mother, but I just couldn’t bring myself to do anything about it. I’d had almost a week of feeling ill and tired, and depressed, and Sunday was my breaking point. I just let go. Thankfully it only lasted for a day and my husband was available to keep the house running and the kids fed.
So step one is to stop giving a fuck about what other people think, without hurting anyone’s feeling or becoming an ass. This is because most of the fucks you give are solely because you’re afraid of what others will think. This doesn’t just apply to people you know, though. At least for me, a lot of the fucks I give are because of someone I’ve never even met. For example, I followed someone’s blog who “changed her life” by creating a morning routine of getting up an hour early, meditating, doing yoga, and prepping for her day. She made it sound so great I had to give it a try. I tired for a awhile and even managed to get my morning run in for a while when I was training for a marathon. But as soon as that necessity was over I was hitting snooze. I just can’t get myself up in the morning. AND I FEEL GUILTY ABOUT IT! No one but me even knows that I don’t get up. The woman who wrote the blog certainly doesn’t know, and probably wouldn’t care. But that doesn’t stop me from feeling crappy about it. This is true for lots of things. I read FlyLady and feel guilty my house isn’t cleaner. I read Zenhabits and feel guilty about all my “stuff.” I read TheBloggess and think my writing sucks and wish I could be as creative as her. I’m trying to impress people I’ve never even met, who don’t even know I exist, and it’s making me sick. So my new project (seeing the theme yet, I like to start projects…still waiting on finishing one) is to finish the book, figure out what I truly want to give a fuck about, and let the rest go. I’m hoping it’ll clear my head and my schedule so I can fit in the things that truly matter to me, and thus become happier.
Hope y’all are hanging in there! Feel free to comment and let me know!