The Importance of not giving a damn
The other day I met a lady who intrigued me by her very healthy level of self-esteem. This is not something I see often, and certainly not to the degree she displayed her self-esteem. She wasn’t overly confident in a negative way. She wasn’t full of herself. She was just very comfortable being her. She genuinely didn’t care what strangers, or even most people, thought of her. She in fact found it confusing that people do care about what other people think of them.
How very lucky she is to be given the gift of great self-worth. It is something that develops usually over our childhood and teen years and we are incredibly fortunate if we feel this way. For many, I’d actually go so far as to say most people, creating a strong sense of self is a journey and a work in progress often into adulthood.
How often have you wondered what someone has thought about how you look? What you said? How you presented yourself? How you completed a task? How you are as a parent? How you conduct your work?
It’s not bad to be curious about this. As long as it is simply a vague curiosity and doesn’t impact you in any negative way. For many, that negative thinking takes seed and grows over time until that internal voice is very busy keep track of all the external factors that actually have nothing to do with them. And usually, all negative. The positives are left to go their own way.
There is a wonderful saying, “What someone else thinks of you is none of your business”. And yet how often do we imagine what they might be thinking of us?
Learning to not give a damn about what others think of us is a large part of being able to genuinely be us. Being authentic you is the only way to start a path to being content in life.
You were born to be YOU. You can’t be anyone else and do it well. Cats don’t pretend to be dogs, dogs don’t pretend to be horses. Animals accept they are just them. We could learn a lot from animals. (Yes, I am an animal lover!).
So how do we practice not giving a damn?
It is a process and it takes time, but there are some small things you can do to start.
Social media cleanup
Whilst we all know that social media is essentially a highlight reel of people’s lives, viewing it over and over still has an impact on our brains. Look through your social media. Anything you genuinely enjoy, anything that brings happiness to you, keep it on your radar. Anything that makes you feel any kind of negative emotion, get rid of it. Silence people, leave toxic groups or chats, if it doesn’t make your life better, then it needs to go.
That perfect friend with the perfect life. If that doesn’t make you happy and feel good about yourself, then seeya (I’m talking online here). That perfect parent, that perfect body, that amazing relationship – time to let them all go back to the world outside of yours.
You aren’t missing out on anything good if it makes you feel bad. You are only missing out on lowering your mood and your self-worth.
Learn who you really are
I can’t tell you how often I work with lovely people who have no real clue of who they are. They have learnt to be what they thought they “should” be. They have learnt to do what needs to be done. But they haven’t learnt what actually makes them feel content being them. Do you know who you are? What are your hobbies? What does your perfect day look like? Do you like outdoor activities? Do you like parties and large social gatherings or do you prefer smaller groups? Do you like animals? Do you love to travel? Who are you really? If you know what you like and you aren’t doing it then you can’t be the real you. If you don’t know what you like then you can’t be you.
You are not the centre of everyone else’s universe
Now that sounds not so nice, but the reality is that each of us is very busy in our own heads. All day, every day.
What you are wearing when I see you at the shops is probably not on my radar.
If it is, then maybe it is because I love fashion and I am curious how your outfit might suit me.
It might be because you look great and I think that I don’t look so great today.
It might be because I have that exact outfit at home.
Maybe I am busy in my head and don’t even really notice you even though I am looking at you.
It could be that I wouldn’t have the guts to wear such a cool outfit.
And maybe, it is because I am judging you by my standards of what I like.
In all of these examples of what I might be thinking, you don’t even come into it. All the thoughts in my head revolve around me. Even if I am judging you, that is my issue. That is about me and my opinion.
So then, when you are next wondering what someone else is thinking about you, the answer is, you are only part of the story about them. You are a minor player, they are the star of the show. You are not the centre of their universe. You are the centre of your universe. Who cares what they are thinking?!
Practice these small things every day and you will start to realise that you are perhaps investing too much energy into people you don’t know or may not even like. Where is the sense in that?
If you doubt yourself and care what others think, focus on these small changes and you will, hopefully, be on the first steps to learning to be YOU!