“LIFE IS TOO SHORT TO WORRY ABOUT WHAT OTHERS SAY OR THINK ALL THE TIME. BE YOU AND GIVE ’EM SOMETHING TO TALK ABOUT!”
We all want to be valued and liked. We don’t want to be judged or do things that could embarrass us or make us out to be anything less than amazing.
The truth is, you are going to be judged, you are going to embarrass yourself and not everyone is going to like you. And frankly, life is too short to give a shit what other people think all the time!
I was a freshman in college sitting at the front of a huge lecture hall that sat 300 people in my abnormal psychology class.
On this particular morning I was feeling off. I woke up with a slight cramp in my stomach and figured it was a little bug or indigestion and would pass. I choked down a bowl of Honey Bunches of Oats and headed to class.
I was one of the students who loved to sit in front, so down the stadium seating stairs I went to sit, 5 rows from the stage where the professor stood.
About 15 minutes into class my stomach started cramping, bad! I felt my mouth starting to water and I knew what was going to happen next. I had bout 60 seconds before I was going to vomit all over the place. I had three choices:
1. I could jump up, squeeze past the 5 people sitting between me and the stairs, run up the stairs to the entrance, burst through the doors hoping I could remember where the bathroom was.
2. I could run down the stairs to the emergency exit that was to the side of the stage and closer, but then that risked me throwing up in front of everyone if I didn’t make it to the exit in time.
3. I could put my head down between my legs and throw up on the floor
Option 3 won. I was surprised with how quiet I actually threw up. It wasn’t violent gross, so I was hoping I only attracted the attention of a few people around me.
I had a sweatshirt tied around my waist that I proceeded to take off, place on top of my half-digested cereal and looked down at my sweatshirt wondering what to do.
No one has said anything so maybe no one noticed. I slunk down in my seat, looked at my watch and tuned out the professor waiting for class to end. The whole time I couldn’t help but think:
“What are these people around me thinking, probably that I am hungover.”
“What if there is someone in the class that I know, and they tell everyone else I know?”
“How can I ever come back to class after this, I probably should drop out!”
As the class ended, I sat there waiting for others to disperse and a kind guy asked me softly if I was ok, to which I replied, “Just a little embarrassed”. Then guess what happened, life went on. I went to class the next week, no one said anything to me (although I’m sure there was a reason I didn’t have a lot of people sitting directly next to me) but life went on and bonus, I probably gave a few people a funny story to share with their family over the holidays that year.
Why did I care so much? I didn’t hurt anyone by being sick. It wasn’t like I intentionally threw up in hopes of making the professor feel sorry for me so I would get an A. It just happened. It’s because was afraid of not being accepted, afraid of being laughed at and afraid of what impact this would have on my social life.
Fear of judgement, being embarrassed and non-acceptance is what fuels anxiety. While validation and the need to feel accepted and not judged is human nature to a certain degree, the more that approval and acceptance becomes important to you, the more you lose yourself.
Before we jump into not giving a shit, I think it’s important to point out that yes, sometimes you should give a shit in life.
WHEN YOU SHOULD GIVE A SH*T…
• A co-worker you don’t particularly get along with is giving a presentation and keeps adding in little suck up remarks to your boss. You want to punch him in the face, but you care about your job, so you don’t.
• You are extremely tired after a long day and your best friend calls. You pick up the phone, she is upset and is crying because she got in a fight with her partner. Even though you are exhausted, you talk to her because you care about her situation and her feelings. (If you don’t’ have the energy to talk to your friend, don’t pick up the phone…that doesn’t mean you don’t care – you have the right to respect your energy – and you aren’t aware of her issue yet).
There are several other scenarios in life when you should give a shit. What I’m referencing when I say stop giving a shit is when you are afraid of being embarrassed or start selling yourself short because you think what someone else thinks (even a stranger) is more important than you living YOUR life.
• “Stop doing that, people are watching!”
• “What if I walk up in front of the room to accept my award and I trip?” (I can’t help but think of Jennifer Lawrence here, she handled herself with such grace! She acknowledged it and moved on like a boss!)
• “What if I fail?
• “What if I don’t finish and get laughed at?”
What you are doing at that point is allowing other people to redirect your thoughts and actions. Why do you care more about people pleasing or being liked or not being judged, than being yourself?
Not giving a shit doesn’t mean you don’t care about how your actions affect others, that would mean you are just be being a jerk!
• It’s about where you invest your time, energy and emotions.
• It means you are living a life that is designed by you, you’re creating your own recipe!
• It’s being cognizant of your decisions and taking responsibility for your actions
• It’s dismissing and not associating with the negative external forces that are not in your control.
By the way, this is sooooo much easier to say or read than to put into action because by nature, we care what other people think. So how do we do it? How do we stop?
4 WAYS TO STOP GIVING A SH*T…
- Ask Yourself Why: The first step to freeing your mind of what everyone else thinks about you is to understand why you care so much about how others see you. Research suggests that the need for approval can be directly related to your self-esteem. When you receive a compliment, kind smile, or encouragement from someone you know or a stranger, it feels good. When you feel accepted it offers a sense of belonging. When you aren’t met with approval, it’s not pleasant. Think of those happy feelings you get when you see “Likes” on your Facebook page. So, ask yourself, “Why” do I care so much about ____”, and write it down.
- Stop thinking you are that important. I know that sounds a bit harsh but in reality, the person who you are worried about judging you, they probably A. Don’t care, or B. Will forget about whatever it is you did or said in about 5 minutes. Honestly, it’s a little narcissistic to think that everyone else really does give a shit about what you are doing when in reality, they don’t. Most people are wrapped up in themselves to worry about what you are doing for too long.
- Everybody judges: If someone judges you, unless they are making false accusations about you that could affect a relationship, your job or your safety, then let them judge. We all do to some degree (even you) so let it go. If they judge you, it might sting a little, after all we are human. Allow yourself to feel the sting, process it, then move on. Remember, you are human too and you have the same capabilities of judging, so be aware of that.
- Eliminate toxic people: Strangers, who cares if they judge? But those close to you that judge you can hurt a little more. The people who are your people, won’t judge you. If you are surrounding yourself with people in your life that are constantly judging you, are making you embarrassed about being you, or question your every action…those aren’t your people. Your people are those that support you, can identify with you and appreciate you for who you are.
LIFE IS TOO SHORT TO WORRY ALL OF THE TIME ABOUT WHAT OTHERS THINK…
– So go ahead and tell someone you are going to run that marathon you want to run. If you don’t end up doing it because you didn’t train properly, then who cares what they think!
– Go ahead and dance to that song in the grocery store that has your feet tapping. You probably won’t see the people in that store again and if you do, so what!
– Post that photo on Instagram that you REALLY want to but are a little self-conscious of because you gained weight during COVID quarantine!
– Think of one thing that you have been embarrassed to do or have been too afraid of doing that you could do. Now do it!
Everywhere you go in life, people are going to judge you, it’s just the way it is. But what they think doesn’t matter in the long run. It’s your life.
Be a good person, be a kind person, have fun, laugh a lot and be you. Stop spending so much time on what other people think or you are going to miss out on living your life, for YOU! You just have to take that step and do it, that’s all up to you.
Remember, You Got This!