02 Nov Giving Zero F*cks – Part 1
It’s everywhere I turn.
People running around mindlessly following the status quo. People terrified that others will look down on them, vilify them, laugh at them, ostracise them for being themselves. If you are one of those people who are constantly worried about what others think of you, this is your P.S.A (Public Service Announcement). This topic runs so deep for me that it’s going to be a 2-part blog.
Giving zero f*cks socially, culturally and professionally has helped me greatly in connecting to my authentic self, peeling away the layers of fakeness and embracing who I am.
This is not a case to make yourself out to be an obnoxious brat. No. I’m talking about unapologetically being yourself by not giving a damn about other people’s opinion of you. Look on some level we ALL care about what other people think, however, it is becoming less and less important to me (job interviews and first dates might be the exception). What does the late, great Dr. Wayne Dyer say – other people’s opinion of me are none of my business.
I know who I am and I bring that person forward in all situations – work, play, volunteering, parents, liming with friends, meeting people for the first time, dates. I’m making a concerted effort that my personality and my soul are consistent with all stakeholders in my life.
When I am caught up on what other people think, I hold myself back. In fact, I still do to this day.
Oh I’m not the right skin colour – they wouldn’t talk to me. I’m dougla – I need to keep in my lane. Oh wait until they find out I’m Guyanese – I’ll be snubbed for sure. What if I fall short of people’s expectations? What if I can’t succeed right off the bat? (that’s the perfectionist in me) What if…what if…what if…and it’s all usually negative.
Excuses to dull my shine. Excuses to not step into my greatness. Excuses to hide behind the curtain. Excuses to not fulfill my purpose.
Cultivating authenticity requires me to let go what people think of me. It requires me to be courageously selfish.
I made a pact with myself this year:
” I will no longer let racism, colourism and sexism hold me back from pursuing a life I want or make me see myself anything less than a magnificent being. For too long I have held myself back “They wouldn’t talk to me, I’m not the right skin colour” “I don’t have the right hair” ‘I’m female and men would never respect me enough in that field”
I’m not saying with a new mindset all of my circumstances will change, but I need to change this poor thinking of mine. I lose when I believe the filth people spew. I lose when I hold back my gifts. It’s hard to love myself when I have been taught to look outside for acceptance. What I will do and what I have learned is that I must first like and accept myself.
A small positive change today will transform my future. This is going to take some psychological re-engineering on my part, but by God am I ever ready.”
Now let’s shift to cultural expectations.
I embody nothing that is a Caribbean woman. I don’t like to cook. I don’t need to party and lime every weekend. Fashion is art to me, but I hate to shop. Getting married and having children are not my number 1 priorities in life. Plus, I am generally considered to be weird by most people. Why? I never asked.
I let go many things which were dear to me in my 20s. I partied hard for the sake of fitting in and while I love my friends’ company, I was miserable at most of those parties. Honestly, unless I’m intoxicated, parties can be a drag. The same songs on replay all night, overpriced drinks, the fending off unwanted advances, shouting over loud music in a pale attempt to have a conversation, being the wing woman…
It’s the same experience over and over again.
Recently, I started getting back to what makes me feel alive: sports, nature, writing, art galleries, plays, science. I know that pursuing these interests will make me ‘weirder’ but I really don’t care. You don’t want to party every weekend? What about every month? No, thanks. I’ve been there done that.
What is the single step I took to step into myself?
I started giving zero f*cks what other people thought and started caring more about what I thought. I got comfortable with being true to myself and most importantly, got comfortable with offending and disappointing people.
I started caring about my wants and feelings. I satisfied them unapologetically.
I started being selfish because no one else was doing it for me. I’m not being mean or obnoxious to anyone. Yes, I was scared that I would lose friends in the process. After all, most of my friends don’t share my interests. They love parties and bars.
Life lesson learnt
The acceptance of my peers and loved ones is a luxury that is not my responsibility to ensure. It is my responsibility to accept myself and make myself proud. A friend of mine pointed out that those people who care about me will accept me and those who I infuriate and disappoint will be revealed for what they really are; selfish people who are happier manipulating my life than seeing me live freely (Thanks Sasha).
The world is already full of people who obey the status quo. But the people who give zero f*cks are the ones that change the world. Be the latter. Start living life the way you want, be curious, be brave and always, always stand up for yourself. Someone has to.
Look out for Part 2 of Giving Zero F*cks where I tackle how we keep ourselves back professionally.
P.S – Do you have a family member, friend or colleague who needs to hear this message? Please share it with them – they’ll thank you for it 🙂 🙂