How many times have you heard, “look for the positives”, “you have lots to thankful for”, “be kind to yourself”? I’m sure every single one of us has had these said to in some way, even if its packaged up a little differently they’re all essentially saying “be happy, be grateful for what you have and stop focussing on what you don’t”. Sounds easy enough right! But if it was that easy, wouldn’t we all already be doing it?
I’m currently reading this book called “The subtle art of not giving a F*ck. Sounds negative doesn’t it, but it’s actually not at all, it’s pretty much about stop worrying and caring about everything in your life that really doesn’t matter (that next job, your image, that next relationship etc) and free up some space so you actually worry/ care about the things that actually do matter (family, friends, our health). Please know this is no way an advertisement for this book, we have no ties to the Author at all.
I really didn’t know what to expect from this book, but after a few chapters I started to really think about the underlying message and how it could/ should be relevant to me. It’s no secret that this last 12 months has been a very challenging time for me, and my family and I’ve allowed myself to get side tracked by what I’ve lost and not appreciate what I’ve got – right in front of me, tangible things that do matter and need my care and attention. I have damaged very important relationships in my life and truly hope I can rebuild them, and I think it’s really their tough love recently that has jolted me into realising, that actually, I’m the root cause of so much of my own personal sadness and I’m absolutely focusing on the wrong things.
It's challenging to admit and own our flaws and short comings and be accountable for when you’ve screwed up – and it’s a huge work in progress – but I know I’m genuinely trying now and that’s not something I could’ve said (even though I did) a few weeks ago. I mean, we all make mistakes – we are, after all, only human. But what I’m realising more and more is that we really spend a lot of time looking and obsessing over things that offer no value in our lives or are potentially damaging to the important things in life. I have a tendency/ want to be right/ be heard all the time and I know it drives my family (especially my husband around the bend). I fixate on minor details or words in a conversation and interpret them incorrectly. I’m trying to remember to think about intent in conversations more, because I think we all tend to look/ hear only the things that reference ourselves – humans are inherently selfish (it’s one of the main reasons we are at the “top of the food chain”, so to speak, as we have and continue to make decisions that benefit us. You only need to look at environmental damage and/ or politics to see this play our in real time.
So, back to this book! It’s certainly an interesting read and perspective (not for anyone who is offended by language – clearly that’s not me LOL). The Author (Manson) really dives deep into motivations, purpose and perspective and offers a thought process, essentially, about not giving a f*ck about the shit in our lives that serve no purpose and therefore giving away for room to allow is to give a f*ck about the “real stuff” in our lives. I mean, it’s not a new concept – really it’s a rehash of the philosophy “don’t sweat the small things”, which, let’s face it our grandparents used to say. But what I find interesting about this book is that he (Manson) really spends time uncovering the motivations behind what drives things behaviour of us constantly focussing/ caring about the things. He often mentions the concept of “you just aren’t that important” as a parallel to make us (re)think our personal sense of “importance” in the big, bad world. I mean, when you think about it, our worlds are very small and insignificant in the great scheme of things, yet to us it’s all we have, our little world is our complete and utter focus, so wouldn’t we obsess over it and our place in it.
Human beings are complex creatures, yet we are also so primitive in many ways. For the lucky ones in this world - we have needs, so we fulfill the; we are hungry, so we eat, thirsty, so we drink and so on. In truth, all we ever think about is ourselves and how we can fulfill our own needs. But what if we (could) stop this and turn it on its head – what if we just gave up caring about that job, that pay rise, that pair of jeans etc… What if all we cared and focused on was how we “show-up” in our world, what we say, what we do, how we treat others and how we allow people to treat us.
As a parent, ensuring our children are kind, well-adjusted people are keys goal for us all, and it’s hard, (really) bloody hard and most days we just are on autopilot and surviving and not necessarily thriving. I spoke with a Mum at school pick-up this week and we exchanged our tales about how naughty our 5-year-old are currently. We laughed as we realised, we were using those same strategies to try make our kids to be better behaved but both of us were failing miserably and it was making us miserable in return – so effectively no one is winning – not us, not our kids and certainly not our family. So, what do we do? Surely, we can’t ignore this behaviour completely, can we? Or maybe we can, we discussed that maybe it’s time change our strategy completely “kill them with kindness” and see that has better outcomes as I, for one, am sick of packing up all the toys, cancelling events – the list goes on. What have we got to lose? Because we absolutely aren’t winning anything right now. The jury is out but let’s see how it goes, it’s day 2 currently LOL! Maybe there’s a book in this and I’ll be a millionaire best-seller (she laughs out loud to her computer screen).
So, in summary this book has ignited a re-think for me, some new strategies to try get more “happiness & purpose” from my life, hopefully strengthen (rebuild) relationships and be more optimistic for the future that lies ahead. I have 2 beautiful girls, an incredible husband, sisters and parent I love dearly and amazing – so I’m beyond blessed and it’s time to look at all this more often and remind myself that there are so many wonderful things in our lives that are worthy of our time and focus and to start not giving a f*ck about the rest of it!
Thanks again for reading,