I also have a subtitle for this post which is a bit arrogant: The Art of Letting Go: Become Unstoppable by Learning How to Not Give a F*ck
I’ve cared too much in past about what others think about me. Was I fat in these jeans? Too pushy when I talk to girls? Should I wear red sneakers with а pink blouse? (You shouldn’t by the way. At least that is what I was told by girls.) Do I walk funny? Does my voice sound ridiculous?
I was apologetic. Shy. Constantly trying to make others like me.
Now, I don’t care much. I’m careless about what others think of me.
I didn’t do it on purpose – the above, where I mentioned that I’m dead inside and I don’t quite care about what others think about me. It just happened naturally.
One day I woke up and I was no longer obsessed with what others talk or think about me when my name appears inside their minds.
I was no longer dreaming about obtaining fancy cars and big houses only to impress others. Probably this happened when I figure out what I want to do with my life.1
To be honest, I love this way of thinking – or not thinking about everyone else.
I was strange at first. But I quickly started to adore the extra space in my mind that was previously filled with thoughts about what should I do, say, and also wear so I can make others like me more.
So, if you occasionally ask yourself this: “Gosh, I hope they like my outfit?” when you walk into a bar and everyone is looking at you. If you fill your house with stuff which you don’t need but you still keep anyway.
And if by doing these things you feel extreme pressure. Probably you need to care less.
Learning how to let go and not give a damn about the outside world is a privilege. It’s a skill that, unfortunately, only a few people possess.
But don’t get all sad and sluggish. There is a way to acquire this quality. Like everything else in life, letting go can be learned and mastered.
In this post, I will show you a few ways to start being careless of what others think about you which will potentially make you a happier and more fulfilled person. Yes, I know. It does sound strange but bear with me because, in the end, you will feel relieved.
By saying letting go and being careless I don’t mean the following things:
- Not considering the opinion of others.
- Hurting others with your actions or inactions.
I do mean:
- Understanding that holding on to a lot of things or caring too much about what others think of you will slowly destroy you from the inside.
If we’re clear, let’s go with letting go:
Why You Need To Learn How To Let Go?
You have too much on your plate.
I don’t know you, but I’m sure that’s the case with you.
You have a hobby. Probably a life partner. Friends. A job where you go to earn money which you need in order to survive in life. Probably even a dog, or a cat. Parents that are constantly calling you and asking you when you’ll visit them.
On the flip side, however, you have 24 hours per day. Actually less if we deduct the time we need for sleeping, bathing, driving, and all other tiny little things that are necessary in order to survive.
So, let me ask you the following questions:
- How much time each day you’re spending worrying about what others think about you?
- How much time you’re spending involved in relationships that were doomed from the start?
- How much time of your day you’re spending chatting with friends on Facebook about things that don’t quite matter?
- How much time of your day you’re spending on pleasing others?
- How much time of your day you’re spending working on something that doesn’t make sense?
A lot, right?
We can actually categorize what we mentioned above into three main topics.
The average person worries about these three things most of the day:
- How to make your boss like you more: You do this so you can keep your job and potentially receive more money for doing the same work. Also, for reasons number two:
- How to make others like your more: Subconsciously we want others to like us and accept us. This is deeply rooted in our DNA. Back in time. In the prehistoric era. If you were alone, your chances of survival were close to zero. But if you were in a group, and if you work together, you all stay alive for longer. This is why you lie and behave as you care about other people when you actually don’t. You just want to save your ass from death.
- How to make sure you won’t die: Staying alive is an impulse that both your brain and your body is well aware of. They sync and work together to keep you away from danger and direct towards safety. That’s one of the reasons you accumulate more and you want more. More things usually
meansmore ways to protect yourself from danger. More food in the fridge means that you will survive for a longer period without going to the contaminated store. Our subconscious is telling us “don’t throw away this old hanger, you might wanna need it if a bear attacks.”
Before you get married you’re also concerned about how to make your partner like you and love you more but after you exchange rings it’s no longer that exciting.2
Learning how to let go allows you to unload your mind from a lot of pressure that you’re daily experiencing.
Let’s see some of the benefits of letting go:
Benefits of Letting Go
If you want to become more productive, to live a meaningful life, to feel good about yourself, you need to adapt the letting go skill. This comes with the following benefits:
- Less worry: There is no point to hold a grudge when stuff
gowrong or people act in a way that doesn’t inline with your own understandings of the world. Letting go will free you from all kinds of thoughts and help you understand that people are different and you can’t expect all of them to think like you do.
- Less stuff: One of the reasons we accumulate a lot of stuff while we’re on this planet is inspired by our ambition to make others like us… more. We buy tons of stuff so we can impress others. In reality, no one cares about you and doesn’t give a damn. Once you understand this you will start to remove the things you don’t actually need. The things occupying space both in your house and in your head.
- More being yourself: How often do you say things you don’t mean only to please others? Even though we all need to behave in the world, we often do stuff with the sole intention to make others like us. Once you master the craft of letting go you will finally act naturally. People will start to like you because of you. Not because of someone you’re trying to be.
And these are only part of the benefits. Once you understand what is important you will also walk away from the things that aren’t important and don’t add any real value to your life.
How To Let Go?
You can’t simply say “fuck it” and stop thinking about the things that were troubling your mind yesterday. In order to become careless, let your frustrations, anger, envy, ego, suicidal thoughts go. And not let them stress you, you first need to train your brain.
It’s not an easy task, but it’s worth it.
Here are some steps and things to consider in order to free your mind from the burden:
Embarrassing yourself in front of others is considered social suicide but it can also be a way to become more open to the world.
A simple technique I learned from Neil Strauss from one of his books, The Game, will help you become more socially active, apart from helping you care less
What he mentions in the book is something along these lines: “Dress like a beggar for a day and wander around the streets. Talk to people. Interact with them. This will help you gain more confidence and help you let go of what others think of you.”3
Embarrassing yourself in front of others will help you overcome the fear of speaking in front of groups, social anxiety, and social phobia in general.4
Don’t take the idea about dressing like a beggar so literally. You can try something else.
For instance, speaking at a local event in front of other people. If you haven’t done this before you will probably start sweating only when you think about it.
Yet, exposing yourself in front of a group of people will help you understand that there is nothing to be afraid of. And overcoming fear is the first step to calm your worried mind.
Do Something Different
If you hang around with the same people, you do the same things, you will surely think the same thoughts. Thus, have the same fears.
A lot of times we are doing, or not doing, specific things only to please our friends, which is OK. After all, they are our friends and we want to get along with them. Still, this act shouldn’t interfere with what we really want from life.
When was the last time you asked yourself what is what you want?
A long time ago, right?
You can’t let go of what is troubling you if you keep your body, your physical existence, surrounded by the same people and doing the same things.
Do something different for a change. Go climb a mountain. Go jump with a parachute. Go watch a scary movie. Work for no money but for a good cause. Go to a foreign country. Read books different from the ones you’ve been reading. Read if you haven’t done this for a while.
Everything that will be different from your current activities.
The idea here is to see that there are other things, different things, from your usual activities. This will change your perspective about the world and help you see that there are much more important things than constantly worrying about what others will say about you.
Say No More Often
How often do you say yes to things you don’t really want?
- Yes, mom, I will help you understand what the internet is.
- Yes, John, I’ll help you clean up your terrace.
- Yes, Sindy, I’ll go with you to the mall even though I have work to do.
- Yes, Charles, I will smoke weed with you even though I don’t really want to.
- Yes, Claudia, I will go out with you so I can help you overcome your 3rd relationship for this month.
Two words: Too often.
We say yes more often than expected.
Why is that?
We simply don’t want to disappoint others.
But when we focus too much on not disappointing others. We disappoint ourselves.
We disappoint ourselves with a boring job or with a terrible boyfriend because we want others to like us.
Say nn for a change.
Don’t go out today. Don’t do something only because others are doing it. Ask yourself what you want and focus on this thing. You might be living someone else’s life for years only because you’re trying to please others all the time.
Yes, I know.
Sounds too spiritual and it often ends up in the graph, “this is bullshit and I ain’t doing it.”
But it works.
Not only because monks are doing it. But because meditation gives you space. Mental space to process what happens in your life. Clear your head from your worries and invite more calming and nurturing thoughts.
On the surface. Mediation looks like you’re standing still and doing nothing but it’s quite intensive. You train your brain.
The first time I came across meditation as a solution to our problems was in the book The Monk That Sold His Ferrari by Robin Sharma.
In the book, Mr. Sharma shares one simple technique that will help you gain control over your thoughts and understand what meditation actually means. The technique is called “Heart of the Rose.”
What he mentions is the following:
“All that you need to perform this exercise is a fresh rose and a silent place. Natural surroundings are best, but a quiet room will also do nicely. Start to stare at the center of the rose, its heart. Yogi Raman told me that a rose is very much like life. Notice its color, texture and design. Savor its fragrance and think only about this wonderful object in front of you. At first, other thoughts will start entering your mind, distracting you from the heart of the rose…But you need not worry, improvement will come quickly. Simply return your attention to the object of your focus…” Robin Sharma
It sounds super easy at first. But try doing it for even 20 seconds. You don’t even need
Now, once the rose is in front of your eyes try to keep your focus only on the rose. It’s hard, right? A gazillion of thoughts start to pile up in your worried brain. Pulling you in different directions. It’s like your whole Facebook scroll is going through your eyes in lightspeed.
After a while, you will become better at this. You will endure for a few more seconds staring at the imaginary rose until you can control your mind to the fullest.
That’s what meditation is. It’s focusing your attention on only one thing so you can become calm and relaxed.
Some Closing Thoughts
Be savage when it comes down to things that are trying to rob your focus or interfere with your freedom.
Say no to the things you don’t want to do. Say no to the things collecting dust inside your apartment. Say no to social media. Say no to activities that you’ve done in the past to make others like you.
Say yes to your desires and the things that interest you. This kind of mindset will set the foundations for a brighter future and more smiles on your face.
Even though we can’t survive alone in this world. We also need to set some healthy boundaries.
Not everyone will like you. You will surely interact with people who are obviously trying to sabotage you. But that’s OK.
If you’re an authentic person and if you’re following your path, you shouldn’t care that there will be a few haters talking shit about you. It’s their problem, not yours.
Let go of others think about you. This will help you have more time to think about what you want for yourself.
- I’m still not 100% sure but I’m positive that involves writing and expressing my thoughts.
- Before you get married you’re also worried about finding a partner, but that’s another topic.
- You can actually check this video that is an interpretation of what Neil mentions in the book: the actor David Faustino is hitting on girls with a dildo on his head. It’s working by the way.
- Social phobia would be the fear of speaking in front of groups, whereas generalized social anxiety indicates that the person is anxious, nervous, and uncomfortable in almost all (or the majority of) social situations. Link to the resource.