The art of not giving a fuck
What does not giving a fuck look like?
If I allowed the exterior world to dictate to me who I am, what I am worthy of, I’d be nothing short of incapable of accomplishing life successfully. It took a long and hard wake-up call to stand in my power and say: “Fuck you world, here comes Felicity, paving her way to success.” As brash as I can be, one thing is certain, I have learned to tune out the peanut gallery and keep going strong, possibly with a middle finger in the air!
For years, I suffered from trying to be who everyone else wanted me to be. I struggled with terrible self-esteem, not believing in my own intelligence or the ability to be successful on my own. However, in the last few years, I have shucked those negative notions more thoroughly. In short, I have really honed the basic art of not giving a fuck.
Tuning out negative chatter all around you, ditching the BS of fitting in, and charging ahead with your plans boils down to self-confidence. Can we just will ourselves to be more confident? Well, kinda.
Amy Morin, LCSW, Editor-in-Chief of Verywell Mind, and psychotherapist, recently outlined six ways to build self-confidence:[i]
- Stop comparing yourself to others.
- Surround yourself with positive people.
- Take care of your body.
- Be kind to yourself.
- Practice positive self-talk.
Now, I’m the first one to recognize that these tips are perhaps much easier said than done. And if you are anything like me, probably a couple of these suggestions hit home harder than others. We all have our particular strengths and weaknesses.
Comparing myself with others has not necessarily been the source of the most significant attacks on my self-confidence. However, I do really appreciate one of Morin’s practical recommendations for addressing feelings of envy and doubt: Keep a gratitude journal. This is great advice, regardless of whether envy is one of your particular weaknesses or not. Find a little notebook of any sort—it doesn’t have to be fancy—and periodically jot down your strengths and successes. Regularly reminding yourself of all you have to be thankful for will boost your confidence, help your overall mental attitude, and, as Morin notes, “help you focus on your life and not the lives of others.”
Surrounding yourself with positive people has definitely been more of a challenge for me. From the time that I was very young and through my first marriage, I had a lot of people telling me I was an idiot on a pretty regular basis. Hear that enough, and you start to believe it. When you are a kid who has negative influences in your family, it can be nearly impossible to create a more positive environment for yourself.
But as grown women, we can grab hold of the reins and move ourselves into a new arena. Seek places where people share your beliefs, attitudes, and/or goals. Find friends who want the best for you and will help build you up—and are people with whom you can reciprocate those good vibes.
Does that mean you absolutely have to get all new friends? No, but let’s look at our choices, with the goal of surrounding ourselves with positive people. You may have family members or long-time friends who tend to be negative when you are together. If you recognize that these people are seriously damaging your own mental outlook, it’s possible that you need to limit contact with them—at least for a time, if you are going through a healing phase of your own. It’s possible you need to move on from the relationship entirely. However, especially if you truly desire a continued relationship, it’s also possible that you need to have an honest conversation with them and explain how they are making you feel. No one is positive all the time; depending on the specific situation, your friend or family member may not realize that they are tearing you down. Ask for their support and encouragement.
What I have been forced to master over the last few years is the ability to tune out garbage chatter. If there’s anyone in my life saying that I’m a loser, that I can’t be successful, that my business will flop, that my blog is a bad idea—whatever—I simply will not let myself hear it. I just push that BS out of my life. I reinforce for myself the thoughts that I can be successful, and I seek out others who support me, who will encourage me, and who can help me achieve my goals.
Taking care of your body includes eating well, getting exercise, meditating, and getting adequate sleep, writes Morin. All of those components can go a long way towards making you feel better—and thus making you feel better about yourself.
When you start getting down on yourself, doing the opposite of what your body needs can be oh so easy. Feel like a loser? Might as well down a few doughnuts. Or sit on the couch instead of taking a walk—because what’s the point? I know that slippery slope. But just stop it. You deserve so much more than a tumble down that hill.
Being kind to yourself involves giving yourself a little grace. None of us is perfect. Having strong self-confidence requires an awareness that each of us hits bumps in the road. It’s part of life. When a good friend experiences a failure or setback, I want to comfort them and assure them that it’s not the end of the world. I want them to know that they are full of worth and that they should keep on shooting for the stars. That’s the kind of compassion each of us needs to have for ourselves, as well.
And Morin’s final suggestion is to practice positive self-talk. That right there, that’s especially what I’m talking about when I say you sort of can will yourself to be more confident. Replace all the “I can’ts” with “I can” and “Why shouldn’t I give it a shot?”
Each of us is capable of being our own worst enemy and talking ourselves out of taking chances or making big moves. Do you have dreams for what you want your life to be? Activities or businesses you want to pursue? Physical, personal, professional goals you want to attain? Whatever it is, talk positively with yourself about meeting those dreams and goals.
Be who you are regardless of the chatter around you. Build up your self-confidence, and keep going with your eye on the prize.
[i] Amy Morin, “6 Ways to Build Your Self-Confidence,” Verywell Mind, April 30, 2021, https://www.verywellmind.com/how-to-boost-your-self-confidence-4163098.