What We Can Learn from The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck
Around 400 BC, I had the chance to read the book, "The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck."
It was a long long time ago, yet upon contemplation I think this book is highly necessarry in the 21st century. I must admit, I didn't like it on its first couple of pages because there were a lot of fuck words popping out. It was comparable to washing the dishes, and when you thought you were already done, your siblings put another bunches of plates and glasses into the sink. Holy cows.
Fast Forward to Current Century
In this 21st century, we've seen a host of technological and economical advancements. No one in the 400 BC could imagine that we could fly to another country inside an elongated tube-shaped object, nor could they imagine that we can talk to each other no matter the distance using smartphones and internet.
How absolutely oustanding that is! It's simply so fun to be alive today. We are one lucky folks.
But the Reality Says Something Else
Mentally ill people are growing in numbers. We are so disconnected than ever even when we must be connected more than before. Are we living in irony? Why are there a lot of entitled people? Why do we give a lot of fucks to things that do not really matter? Why does everyone get triggered?
What We can Learn from the Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck
When we think of "not giving a fuck" we immediately assume that we should care about nothing. Be indifferent to everything. This book, however, tells you otherwise — to care about worthwhile things. The rest can go to your zero fuck given list.
To sum it up, here are the 3 insights I've drawn from this book.
1. You're not a special snowflake
Remember when I said that everyone seems to be entitled nowadays? People think they can be whoever they want to be and do whatever they want to do with complete disregard to everything else.
Worst, some people think they are special when they have depression or have gone through a lot. The same goes to the rest who throw positivity all the time even when it undoubtedly plain sucks sometimes.
These two types of people are entitled. The former think they carry the whole burden of the world that they do not give a shit about others — only their feelings and their issues. They romanticize their depression, and post it on social medias how nobody understands them and that they're better off dead anyway.
Depression is a serious mental health issue, and expressing their feelings is really not wrong, but what's wrong is we're too scared to tell them the truth that people have become so soft. We're too scared tell them that even if depression is a part of them, they still have the power to do what will help them feel better over time.
They can try to go outside to explore nature or socialize, seek therapy, surround themselves with people who are supportive not enablers, and put a deliberate effort to remove anything that triggers their dark thoughts, or to accept these dark thoughts as just thoughts. All these are easier said than done, and that's the beauty of it, because once they've done it, they'd be so proud of themselves. Anything can be possible. I know cause I was once one of those "nobody loves me" "I want to die" "my anxious thoughts are fucking me up" "fuck everyone" "I hate people" type, let alone the fact that I also went through some horrible events when I was a child. But I've managed not to let it control my life anymore. It was a long, hard process, but it was possible.
There is a quote I'd like to add to this. David Goggins, considered as the strongest man alive has once said, “It's so easy to be great nowadays, because everybody else..most people are weak. This is a softened generation; so if you have any mental toughness, any ability, any fraction of self-discipline , the ability to not want to do it but still do it. If you can get through doing things you hate to do, on the other side is greatness."
Think of it this way. When people feel worried, we immediately diagnose them that they have "anxiety." One break-up away could lead to a depression. If you get mad reasonably and have overreacted once, you have anger issues. The truth is, these emotions are normal. We shouldn't go around diagnosing that something is wrong with us, when what we feel is NORMAL. PART OF BEING A HUMAN.
When we keep diagnosing what seemingly normal emotions as something wrong all at once, we enable people to become entitled. How? We expect everyone to treat us better because of a bunch of reasons: poverty, disability, bad childhood, anxiety, jobless, people lied to you, so on and so forth. But you can still take responsibility for your life. It's a tough pill to swallow, but you aren't entitled to demand that world should be kinder to you just because you feel you've been through a lot. Everyone's got issues.
The latter, the always positive people are also entitled for demanding that people should just be indifferent to whatever they're dealing with in a matter of short time.
Let's say, your girlfriend cheated on you. Positive folks would say, ‘’Cheer up, you've dodged a bullet! Time to meet someone better.” The reality is, you can't just cheer up instantly. That is awful. It's okay to cry over it and to get mad at your ex for a while. When people expect people (that's a lot of people there) to just bear it and grin it in the flip of a switch, that's avoidance. How about face it first? Process the negative emotions? Then okay, sure you can now get over it.
2. Suffering is there no matter what
Your family is the reason why you're happy. Your family can also be the reason why you're sufferring. You're working on the job you love, but it's also the same job that gives you stress. You enjoy traveling the world, but it's also the same passion that makes you feel uncomfortable in adjusting with different cultures.
Sufferring is always on the other side of the coin.
If the millenials accept this truth, they'd be more grown individuals, because at last, they do not have to resort to drugs and drinking for the sake of feeling better. They won't be scared of feeling the pain of sufferring. In fact, they'll come to the point of enjoying it. How? Here's the key - choose what you suffer for.
The power of choice is human's greatest power, although it can be a blessing or a curse. So, for it to become a blessing, when it comes to sufferring, choose the ones that you think are worth it.
For example, make sure that you're prepared to suffer whatever struggles that you have to go through if you want to work at the job you like. Make sure that you enjoy the struggles associated with being in a long distance relationship. Make sure that you can stand the occassional silence and fights when you're married. You chose to get married anyway.
What this teaches us, although sufferring is the constant variable in life aside from change, we can still enjoy it if this is the kind of hardship we're willing to go through. If not, then you can free yourself from that certain type of sufferring, but only to go through another type of sufferring you've chosen next.
3. Take Responsibility
In the world of “victim mentality” it's so easy to be one. If somebody calls someone fat even when it's true, that person is more likely to spread that on social media to get the attention and justice she deserves. How dare you call me fat? Someone slap this awful piece of garbage.
See. That's one of the biggest problems we're facing nowadays. We escape the real problems by feeling victimized over something that is true anyway, and we respond as if we've got no power to change the situation we are in.
If you are fat, instead of whining and asking for other people's validation in the comment section that YOU ARE NOT YOUR BODY/EVERY TYPE OF BODY IS BEAUTIFUL, you can use it as a motivation to improve your body. In fact, I believe that honesty like that, although brutal, is deserving of my respect. Being fat is not beautiful. I'm sorry, honey.
Oh wait. Maybe, you are fat because of hypothyroidism. It's not really your fault. Should we punch that jerk now? Can you now demand for justice?
You are still responsible whether to practice the necessary diet to lose weight and find ways online or from your doctor to help you manage lose weight even when you are hypo.
Simply put, even when things are out of your control, instead of feeling victimized or blaming somebody else, you can choose to take responsibility for how you will respond to your circumstances.
If you are distressed by anything external, the pain is not due to the thing itself, but to your estimate of it; and this you have the power to revoke at any moment.
- Marcus Aurelius
So are you still going to whine and blame, or you are going to hold the pen and take responsibility for your life no matter what?
Choose, and choose which will serve you better in the long run. Take responsibility. You're not special, but that's why you shouldn't care about that. There are far more worthy of your fucks: loving family, friendship, honesty, loyalty, and meaningful connection.
And that's how you do the subtle art of not giving a fuck.
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Namaste and keep growing,
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