On not giving a fuck and other magical incantations

I like swearing... It's part of my Spanish expressive exuberance. I'm from Madrid. We use a lot of swear words in Madrid. It adds gusto, flair and intensity to what we say. And guess what? I don't give a fuck whether you agree or not. There.

During a powerful session with my coach this week, we covered this big issue of not giving a fuck. The swearing is optional, but the message is one we can all heed. Be yourself. Be authentic. Make no excuses. Be ware of the need to justify yourself to others.

Of course there are limits to not giving a fuck. Sarah Knight explains it brilliantly, concisely and hilariously in her book “The life changing magic of not giving a f**k”. According to her, people who don't give a fuck fall into one of three categories: a) children, b) assholes, and c) the enlightened. I'm definitely aiming for option c (as I can no longer opt for a!).

The point is that we're not talking about lack of empathy or lack awareness about other people's feelings or predicaments. We're certainly not avoiding or pulling back from human connection in all its messiness. We're aiming for our own integrity and coherence. For the freedom from the shackles of what others think of us, our choices and our opinions. Even close family members and dear ones. Especially them! ;-)

We all need to learn and practice speaking the language of honesty (for ourselves) and of difference of opinion (for others'). If my choices affect someone else, I need to follow my heart, be polite, communicate clearly my needs and consider the other person's needs, and avoid going down the labyrinth of expectations (easier said than done, I know). Where I have been wasting a lot of my life energy has been on choices that affect mostly me. Why should I care about what other people think? Why have I made my own choices then tried to ram them into a justification-demonstration container that simply did not fit?

Because I have a core belief that “I am what I achieve” and the achieving part requires others' validation. Now this is a deep-held belief that stems from my childhood (as most such beliefs do) and it's been damn hard to shift it. The sodding thing will not budge. I know it. I see it. I understand, on a logical level, why it's there; where it comes from; how it came to be; its entire life and miracles. I have for years. But, no matter how much I poke it with the tip of my mind's focus, it won't fuck off.

The breakthrough during my coaching session came in the understanding that such a core belief, such a key in my whole psychological edifice, needs to be replaced by another core belief with frequency, intensity and in an embodied way. A new core belief that is more aligned with my current values, strengths, and life purpose. A belief of my own choosing, rather than one internalised from the outside as a child (when I didn't know better). Otherwise there will be a gaping hole in there in the form of fear and my reptilian brain will freak out. It will continue confusing external validation with actual physical survival, as I am now aware it has been doing all my life.

This core belief, and its accompanying protector, has ended up suffocating me, stifling my own development, especially in realms such as creativity, envisioning, intuition, deep connection, vulnerability and purpose. So I have politely thanked it. I have given my protector a big hug (will continue doing so every day – gratefulness, people!!). And I am replacing it with another belief that could be expressed as:

 

I am enough

I am what I am

I take ownership of my life

I am going to play (read: live) according to my own rules

I will contribute from my own heart

I will listen to my own inner wisdom first

 

Basically it's a big “I'm going to live my life my way and I don't give a toss what anyone else thinks (except my husband, who pays the mortgage on the house I live in, plus I love him very much)”. So all my other old beliefs can really fuck off. And so can anyone else's opinion.

The trick is in anchoring this new belief through a daily ritual of affimation and embodiement practice. Believe it in my head, believe it in my heart, believe it in my body – and then go out and live it in my life. Re-condition myself and then act on it. Daily.

You might think, well done you to come to such a clichéd conclusion in your early 40s (I can hear the sarcasm!!), but in my experience, most of us are still too dependent on external validation and visible accomplishments as sanctioned by others (society, our family, social media rules, culture, etc.), whether we are aware of it or not.

I therefore leave you with some questions to ponder:

 

  • Do you feel “on purpose”, “aligned”, “at ease” in your own life? If yes, why? If not, why not?
  • Do you care what others think of you? Why? Who are these “others”?
  • Do you feel you have to play by the rules? Which rules? Why?
  • How do you assess the state of your life? By which measuring stick?
  • What does success mean to you? How much of that definition is truly yours?
  • Do you really want what you say you want? What you think you want?
  • Do you feel the need to justify yourself and your actions all the time?
  • Does speaking your truth make you feel uncomfortable? Why?

 

And a little practical tip: start an “I don't give a fuck” practice in whichever way suits you. Find a box, a drawer, a jar and put bits of paper with things, opinions and issues your don't care about. Or make list(s)! (a favourite of mine) and keep adding to them. You will feel lighter, and more attuned to your own guidance and your own magic when you have emotionally and psychologically shed so much of what doesn't resonate with you.

 

[If you want to read more on this theme, check out my post There is very little of me in my life]