I have written lightly about ‘living exponentially’ in my blog post about Walter Mitty – but this post is something different. Despite there being plenty of perfectly rational things in my life to be concerned about, however naïve or ridiculous of me it might be, I am not a worrier. I really don’t possess fears. I have this un-erring belief that everything will be ‘just fine’. I have friends that I drive absolutely bonkers over this attitude of mine. Why aren’t you worried? What’s your plan? Plan. Plan. Plan. You aren’t REALLY going to write that, are you?? You aren’t really go to send that email are you? Let go of it. I most certainly am, primarily because I care. There are far worse things.
And, like my girlfriend Mary who has experienced much of the same, there are always going to be people who want to ‘fix me’ ‘help me’ or somehow ‘rescue me’ and I am having none of it (neither, thankfully, is she). I dedicate this blog post to Mary, and her journey of self, because we can’t walk in anyone else’s shoes and everything we carry with us is about reconciling our pasts so that our souls can accomplish their objectives for living in this lifetime. I only ask that Light and Love surround her and keep her safe.
I dislike high places. I have an inner ear ‘thing’ from damage caused by repeated ear infections as a child that gives me a wicked case of vertigo but I am not necessarily afraid of heights. So much of the lens in which we are viewed by the world around us, by our colleagues and our friends, and very often how we view ourselves, is a powerful catalyst for our continued behaviours – whatever they might be. A refrain of my life was repeated (yet again) fairly recently. It’s a huge compliment to be told that someone perceives you as being fearless, and that because of their perception of you they are pushing away the boundaries of their fears, to fear ‘less’; three people expressed the same in a matter of two days. Respect for danger, preparation to face it squarely, has absolutely nothing to do with fear or worry. Fear is a choice. Worry is a choice.
We all have things that we have cognition of but that we (largely) keep hidden; fear of offending, fear of failure, fear of others thinking us foolish, fear of dangerous situations. These fears are not necessarily bad things but they can be debilitating things. Fear is always having a monkey on your back. Fear keeps us from fully living.
I function best from the realms of authenticity and love. That expressed, I vividly recall my father saying “I don’t care if you like me, as long as you respect me” (generally directed as dinner table conversation about people not in the room). Close friends can attest that as a result of my having been bullied from the 3rd grade onward by boys with the names of Joe and Victor (amongst others) I have honed my fathers’ attitude to I don’t much care if you like me or respect me, please just leave me alone and, if you can’t for some inexplicable reason respect polite boundaries, I assure you that you will simply ‘cease to exist’ (I have found that indifference is the greatest survival skill ever learned). Which is why in reading Mark Manson’s The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck yesterday I was like, well “Hell Yes!”
Now, most of you who know me in real life know that while I might “think it” and “act it” and “truly don’t” I also VERY RARELY actually use the word. Which is what made my Croatian-American friend Bruce’s “Croatians using the word…” tutorial back in late January very funny to me. Evidently if a Croatian says IN CROATIAN F*ck You (or was it ‘off’?) it is actually 100x more offensive than the English use of noun, verb, adjective, expletive F*ck You. Who knew???!! So, TO EVERY ONE I LOVE, and the things I passionately care about (and you witness by not just my words but by my actions) it’s true, it’s true, it’s true – I do not give a F*ck if some unknown dweeb is challenged by my attitude to let it all fall where it should, and TO HELP IT GET THERE faster if need be. Because quite frankly my choosing to care, my giving a F*ck is one of the things I am most proud of about me. So when something is totally F*cked up expect me to do something and say something and take no prisoners in the process (though it might be a iron fist in a lovely velvet glove making it nearly impossible to distinguish what is actually happening). If that makes you uncomfortable then it is patently clear you will never be worthy of my respect or my giving a F*ck about you or your indifferent little life. I challenge you to CARE about stuff, about life, passionately. No regrets. No ‘what’s in for me’. Don’t try to control everything, or anything – it’s impossible to do so – but show up for life. Truly. Caring about what the wrong people think, SMH. And for someone that is deeply rooted in creating branding and identities this might seem contrary but it seems more reckless to me to be fearful of opinions and perceptions of the great unwashed masses rather than functioning from a position of authenticity and integrity.
Mr. Manson is spot on. Don’t “give your F*cks away” to the wrong people and situations. Don’t worry about the inconsequential – will whatever it is matter tomorrow or the next day? Fear is an extension of giving a F*ck about the wrong things. Shift. Your. Thinking.
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