I don't care
"Who cares?" has become a sentence I repeat alot. Often it is followed up with "I don't care!" It leads to some interesting looks. People quite often don't know how to respond to it, usually thinking I'm being an arrogant, self-centered asshole.
The part that is so often missed is I live my life for myself. My wife, kids, family, etc. hold huge parts of me, but the only person I can fix, change, or improve is myself. I know it sounds extremely arrogant to say these things but have you ever tried changing someone? How about just changing a persons view of you? It's not easy. At times, it's impossible. No matter what you say or do, you just can't make it happen. However have you tried changing yourself? Still not easy, but you stand a greater chance of making it happen. Once you make it happen for yourself, others will see it. Once others see it, others could potentially change as well. It's basically the root of the statement "Be the change you want to see."
So where does the "Who cares?" come into play? For years I worried about what others thought of me. I went through high school thinking about what I needed to do to make people like me. I felt I was invisible. I had a handful of friends, but I just never had the confidence that I was liked, or understood. Once I was in the real world I learned (like most of us) how different the social environment was once out of school. Yet despite this I still kept those thoughts running through my head.
I was into soccer, football, baseball, basketball, and every other sport I could try. At the same time I was into comic books, video games, Dungeons & Dragons, computers, and so on. Each of these interests had a group of people tied to them that rarely mixed. I was stuck somewhere between "Jock" and "Nerd". It was important to me that I fit into both groups. I felt it was necessary, but it didn't work.
Then there came a point. I couldn't say where, when, why, or how, but I just threw my hands up with a "Fuck it! I don't care!" That was the start of something that freed up so much space in my mind and allowed me to grow as a person. I basically said "I don't care what you think of me." It was liberating. If you didn't like who I was, well it wasn't my problem. Only after I started thinking this way did I truly see the friends I had. The ones that liked me, for being me. I stopped trying to be someone I wasn't to fit into some crowd. I stopped caring when I got ignored, shunned, etc. because I looked, acted, or liked something different.
Today I work to keep myself where I want to be. With a mindset like this, at times, you will face some resistance from people, even loved ones. It can be hard to say I'm doing this for me, and it might mean I need to stop doing something for you. At the same time, knowing what I need to keep myself happy allows me to do more for others, like my family. If I'm not searching for some unattainable existence then I have free time for others. The level of confidence you gain pours out of you and lifts others around you as well.
When someone says to me "But what about so and so, saying xyz?" It's a simple "I don't care!" I'm not going to let negative thoughts impact my life where I have to waste brain cells on them.
So how do you do this without coming off as a self-centered egotistical jackass? Even though you're concentrating on yourself, you still have a world around you. If you take that same mindset, of not letting others knock you down, you can lift someone else as well simply by them watching you do your thing. You children, for instance, will learn seeing your ability to be your own person. Others around you will use you as an example. Of course I don't go around ignoring everyone, but I just don't let anyone negatively (intentionally or not) affect my view/life.
So go about your day and when some thought about others perception of you gets you down just say "I don't care!"
Photo by Jeremy Perkins on Unsplash