Whether you realize it or not, you are always choosing what to care about in your life.
Don’t let your emotions define your reality.
I fear that today we’re facing a pschycological epidemic, one in which people no longer realize it’s okey for things to suck sometimes. Life is not always “perfect”. What we see on social media every day is not the full picture of peoples life’s. Be careful with comparing peoples outside with your inside. When we believe that it’s not okey for things to suck sometimes, we unconsciously start to blame ourselves. We start to feel as something is wrong with us, which drives us to all sorts of overcompensation, stress and anxiety.
Remember that people who are terrified of what others think about them are actually terrified of all the shitty things they think about themselves being reflected back at them.
“There is a subtle art to not give a fuck. And though the concept may sound ridiculous and I might sound like an asshole, it’s about essentially learning how to focus and prioritize your thoughts effectively – how to pick and choose what matters to you and what does not matter to you based on finely honed personal values. This is incredibly difficult. It takes a lifetime of practice and discipline to achieve. And you will regularly fail. But it is perhaps the most worthy struggle one can undertake in one’s life. It is perhaps the only struggle in one’s life. Because when you give too many fucks – when you give a fuck about everyone and everything – you will feel that you’re perpetually entitled to be comfortable and happy at all times, that everything is supposed to be just exactly the fucking way you want it to be. This is sickness. And it will eat you alive. You will see every adversity as an injustice, every challenge as a failure, every inconvenience as a personal slight, every disagreement as a betrayal. You will be confined to your own petty, skull-sized hell, burning with entitlement and bluster, running circles around your very own personal Feedback Loop from Hell, in constant motion yet arriving nowhere.” /Mark Manson
The feedback Loop from Hell
Mark Manson speaks about the feedback loop from hell, you’ve probably been there more then a few times. Does this sound familiar to you: You get anxious about confronting somebody in your life. The anxiety builds up and you’re wondering why you’re so anxious. Oh no, double anxious! Now you’re anxious about your anxiety, which is causing more anxiety. Or let’s say you have an anger problem. You get pissed off at the stupidest, most insane stuff, and you have no idea why. And the fact that you get angry so easy starts to piss you off even more. And then, in your pure rage, you realize that being angry all the time makes you a shallow and mean person, and you hate this; you hate it so much that you get angry at yourself. Now look at you: you’re angry at yourself getting angry about being angry. Or you’re so worried about doing the right thing all the time that you become worried about how much you’re worrying. Or you feel so guilty for every mistake you make that you begin to feel guilty about how guilty you feel. Or you get sad and alone so often that it makes you feel even more sad and alone just thinking about it. This is the feedback Loop from Hell.
Life is always too short
I’ve given a fuck about many things in my life, I cared way too much about certain things that held me back from a lot of opportunities. But I’ve also not given a fuck about many things, I don’t care that my industry is absolutely horrifying and scary from time to time, I rather live that way then choosing something “safe” over what I love. I don’t give a fuck about what people think about many of my choices in my life. And like the road not taken, it was the fucks not given that made all the difference. Chances are pretty big that you know somebody in your life who, at one time or another, did not give a fuck and then went on to accomplish amazing stuff. Perhaps it happened to you? These moments of “non-fuckery” are the moments that most define our lives, the major switch in careers or the spontaneous choices. To not give a fuck is to stare down life’s most terrifying and difficult challenges and still take action. Most of us struggle throughout our lives by caring too much in situations where you shouldn’t even care in the first place. This might sound very dark, but at the end of the day we all know that we’ll die. It’s kind of obvious and still way too many of us try to somehow pretend that we’ll live forever. It would be better, if we realized that in the short amount of time between here and there, you have a limited amount of fucks to give. Very few, in fact. And if you go around giving a fuck about everything and everyone without conscious thought or choice – well, then you’re gonna get fucked because, surprise – life is short. If you’re honest about death, that might be the only thing truly capable of helping you keel all your other values in proper perspective. If you ever had a near death experience, and I mean a real one, where your body and your brain thought you were going to die – well I’m going to tell you – it changes your life, forever, the way you look at life. All of a sudden you’ve touched the end of it and you feel grateful for everything that isn’t that very end. We only live ones and life is always too short, I can’t say that enough. What also happens is that you stop caring about certain things, because there’s a bigger picture.
One of the most important and beneficial values are to take responsibility for everything that occurs in your life, regardless of who’s at fault. When we feel that our problems are being forced upon us against our will, we feel victimized and miserable. We don’t always control what happens to us. Many times we can’t do anything about it. But we always control how we interpret what happens to us, as well as how we respond.
Whether we like it or not, we are always taking an active role in what’s occurring to and with us. We are always choosing the values by which we live and the metrics by which we measure everything that happens to us. Often the same event can be good or bad, depending on the metric we choose to use. The point is, we are always choosing, whether we recognize it or not. Always.
But there are also problems that we aren’t at fault for, yet we are still responsible for them. As an example, you’re on your way home from work and there’s a baby on your doorstep. It’s not your fault that the baby had been put there, but it’s now your responsibility. And whatever you choose to do, you are responsible for that choice. We are responsible for experiences that aren’t our fault all the time. That’s life. And then there are terrible situations where you have to suffer, for example, loss of a child or a loved one. You didn’t choose for this person to die, nor was it your fault. But despite that the responsibility for coping with the loss was given to you, though it was clearly and understandably unwanted. You are still responsible for your own emotions, beliefs and actions. How you react is your own choice. Pain of one sort or another is inevitable for all of us, but we get to choose what it means to and for us. Even in claiming that you had no choice in the matter and simply just want this person back, you are making a choice, one of many ways of how you can use that pain.
Not giving a fuck does not mean being indifferent, it means being comfortable with being different.
Indifferent people are afraid of the world and the repercussions of their own choices. That’s why they don’t make any meaningful choices. They hide in a gray, emotionless pit of their own making, self-absorbed and self-pitying, perpetually distracting themselves from this unfortunate thing demanding their time and energy called – life. Because here’s the sneaky truth about life. There’s no such thing as not giving a fuck. You must give a fuck about something. It’s a part of our biology to always care about something and therefor to always give a fuck. The question then, is, WHAT do we give a fuck about? What are we choosing? And how can we not give a fuck about what ultimately doesn’t matter?
The secret is in the solving of the problems.
Happiness comes from solving problems. The keyword here is “solving”. If you’re avoiding problems or feel like you don’t have any problems, then you’re going to make yourself miserable. If you feel like you have problems you can’t solve, you will likewise make yourself miserable. The secret is in the solving of the problems, not in not having problems in the first place. Cause everyone has problems, you just either accept them or deny them. To be happy we need something to solve. Happiness if therefor a form of action, it’s an activity, not something that is passively thrown at you, not something that you magically discover in a book or from a teacher. Happiness is a constant work in progress. It should be easy – solve problems – be happy. But many people can’t do it because they either deny that their problems exist in the first place. Or that they choose to believe that there is nothing they can do to solve their problems – they are victims. They feel that there’s nothing they can do about it, so they avoid responsibility for their situation.
The victim and the saver.
Remember, people can’t solve your problems for you. And they shouldn’t try, cause it wont make either of you happy. Rather, two people solve their own problems in order to feel good about each other. You both should support each other. But only because you choose to support and be supported. Not because you feel obligated or entitled.
Entitled people who blame others for their own emotions and actions do so because they believe that if they constantly paint themselves as victims, eventually someone will come along and save them, and they will receive the love they’ve always wanted. Entitled people who take the blame for other people’s emotions and their actions do so because they believe they can “fix” their partner and save him or her. These are the yin and yang of any toxic relationship: the victim and the saver. The person who starts fires because it makes him feel important and the person who puts out fires because it makes her feel important. These two types of people are drawn strongly to one another, and they usually end up together. In the beginning of a relationship with a victim it’s easy to turn into a saver, but because of your good and healthy view of yourself and the relationship, it will end sooner or later. Wherever there is a healthy and loving relationship, there will be clear boundaries between the two people and their values, and there will be an open avenue of giving and receiving rejection when necessary. Often the problems in your romantic relationships always eerily resemble the problems in your parents relationship.
If the victim really loved the saver, he would say, “Look this is my problem; you don’t have to fix it for me. Just support me while I fix it myself.” That would demonstrate, taking responsibility for your own problems and not holding your partner responsible for them. If the saver really wanted to save the victim, the saver would say, “Look, you’re blaming other people for your own problems, deal with this yourself. Take responsibility for your actions.” That’s real love, helping someone to solve their own problems. Supporting the other in their individual growth and in solving their own problems. Giving a fuck about your partner regardless of the fucks he or she gives. That’s unconditional love, babe.
“no pain – no gain”
Who you are is defined by what you’re willing to struggle for. People who enjoy the struggles of a gym are the ones who run triathlons and can bench-press a small house. People who enjoy the uncertainties and adrenaline kicks of the artist lifestyle are ultimately the ones who live it and make it work. This is not about willpower or grit. This is “no pain – no gain”. The most simple and basic component of life, our struggles determine our successes. Our problems birth our happiness, along with slightly better, slightly upgraded problems. If you at any point think that you’re allowed to stop climbing. I’m afraid you’re missing the point. Because the joy is in the climb itself.
We are all wrong sometimes
Many people become so obsessed with being “right” about their life that they never end up actually living it. Being wrong brings the opportunity of growth. This openness to being wrong must exist for any real change or growth to take place. It’s crazy how we let our money and jobs define who we are. How we are afraid to show appreciation for those who matter to us the most. We know today that the human mind is incredibly quick and capable of coming up with and believing in a bunch of bullshit that isn’t real. In fact, we are really good at it. Our brain is always trying to make sense of our current situation based on what we already believe and have already experienced. It’s hard to ignore that and be truly open for the moment.
It is really that simple. It’s just not easy.
You might have read this and now you’re thinking “Okey, but how? I get that my values suck and I avoid responsibility for my problems, that I’m a selfish ass who thinks the world revolves around me and every inconvenience I experience – but how do I change?” Listen carefully, “do or not do”. There is no “how”. You’re already choosing, in every moment of every day, what to give a fuck about and not, so change is as simple as choosing something else! It is really that simple. It’s just not easy.
It’s not easy because you’re going to feel like a loser, a fraud, a dumbass at first. You’re going to be nervous. You’re going to freak out. You may get pissed off at your partner or your friends or your father in the process. These are all side effects of changing your values, of changing the fucks you’re giving. But they are inevitable. You’re going to feel uncertain: Mark Manson guarantee it. “Should I really give this up? Is this the right thing to do?” Giving up a value you’ve depended on for years is going to feel disorientating, as if you don’t really know right from wrong anymore. This is hard, but it’s normal. You’ll feel like a failure. You realize you spend half your life measuring yourself by that old value, so when you change your priorities, your metrics and stop behaving in the same way, you’ll feel like some sort of fraud or nobody. This is also normal and also uncomfortable. Many of the relationships in your life were built around the values you’ve been keeping, so the moment you change those values – the moment you decide that starting to love and respect yourself is the key to ever love and respect someone else, or that relationships are more important than rampant sex and parties, that working with something you believe in is more important than money – your turnaround will resonate out through your relationships, and it will change your life.
It’s time for you to choose to place your fucks elsewhere, in a place far more important and more worthy of your energies. There’s a certain comfort that comes with knowing how you fit in the world. Anything that shakes up that comfort – even if it could potentially make your life a lot better – it’s still scary. Just stay strong through the process, stare the fear in the eye and say that you don’t give a fuck. It’s okey to be scared, no loop back from hell here.
Don’t let your emotions define your reality.
Actions isn’t just the effect of motivation; it’s also the cause of it.
If you want to accomplish something but don’t feel motivated or inspired, then you assume you’re just screwed, there’s nothing you can do about it. It’s not until a major emotional life event occurs that you feel that you have enough motivation to actually get up and do something. The thing about motivation is that it’s an endless loop. Your actions create further emotional reactions and inspirations and move on to motivate your future actions. So if you lack the motivation – just do something! Anything.
This blog is a mix of Mark Manson’s words from his phenomenal book “The subtle art of not giving a fuck” and my own words and thoughts. I hope you enjoyed it. Let me know what you think about this subject and you’re own experiences with it. And buy his book now.
I give many fucks about the people I love. I always try to do what’s best for them, I try to be there as a constant support and I try to help if I can, but at the end of the day I have to give more fuck about myself. When someone I love can’t treat me with respect and refuse to make a change then I have to make the choice to not give a fuck about you anymore. Cause I can’t solve your problems for you. I’m not your saver. In fact, you can stop looking for your saver because your “saver”, is you.