A few years ago I had an amazing chat with one of my closest friends Hanan in which I ended up telling her the phrase: “It’s not that I don’t care; I choose not to care” which she noticed, found interesting, and made me realize what I had just said and its importance by questioning it…
To give you a bit of context here, we were talking how we humans love to let things that happened in the past, things that we can’t control, and people who are not worth it hurt us repeatedly, and often over loooong periods of time. She asked me how I recovered that fast from negative stuff I had to face and how I managed to make sure that past events wouldn’t hurt me anymore. In a word: How I let these things behind to increase my level of happiness.
Choosing not to care
Cause yes, the reason I’m talking about this is not that I love quoting myself on Waves Podcast. Well… It’s not entirely that. It’s also that I truly think that it can be beneficial to everybody. What your job is, or what you want it to be does not matter at all. We all need to hear about that sort of topics because wellbeing affects everyone.
“Not caring” means being able to be at peace with whatever people have done to you, or what happened in your life in order to stop suffering and move past it. It is therefore very close to the notion of Forgiveness that is so often praised by public speakers and “wellness specialists”. In fact here’s a video that explains that very well and how you can do it. It’s from Vishen Lakhiani at Mindvalley which I also recommend you check out. It kind of changed my life to be honest.
So that’s what I mean by ‘not caring’, but what about the word ‘choosing’ I used in this paragraph title? Well see, during this conversation I first told my friend “I just don’t care” to which she replied: “But if you don’t care about anything then you’re not living anymore” which I found very true. Living a life without caring about anything or anyone would mean no love, no passion, no goals… And I’m so NOT into that. So I nuanced my sentence and told her “It’s not that I don’t care, I choose not to care” which she found more interesting.
Choosing not to care implies having the ability to decide when you do and when do not care. I know it sounds obvious but I want to clarify that given the amount of times I’ve seen Instragram posts that confuse all of this. See I will never tell you what you should and should not care about because there is simply no unique rule that applies to everyone. It’s up to you to decide. So when people post stuff that say “surround yourself with those with the same goals as you” it just doesn’t work. I mean don’t get me wrong: I get the idea, I think it’s a very nice and motivating quote but it’s a bit too simple to be 100% true, which is what I’m aiming at with this podcast… I know, I’m ambitious.
So when I tell you that you should choose not to care – and so, that you should choose what you care about – I can’t be more precise than this. All I can do is warn you about the fact that caring is also the essence of what makes us human, so you should try to let it go (LET IT GOOOOO) when it’s good for you but also keep in mind that you’re not the vonly one that matters. Being there for a friend when they’re down and not very supportive sounds like a great thing to do, even if they don’t have the same goals as you, right?
Never pretend, just don’t care
This second part of the article is brought to you by The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt on Netflix… Yeah, I’m serious, that’s what made me want to talk about it and reminded me of this chat with my friend I just told you about.
If you are a huge Kimmy Schmidt fan but somehow haven’t finished it yet you may want to skip this part. I mean it’s not a huge thing but… I don’t want you to threaten me via DM or idk.
Okay now that the crazies are gone, here’s why I wanted to talk about this. See in that show, Kimmy Schmidt is a girl who’s been kidnapped and kept in a bunker for 15 years and now, logically, has a trauma that she’s trying to deal with. So at one point she goes to a psychologist played by Tina Fey, who tells her that she should stop worrying about who knows what happened to her and who doesn’t, what they think of her etc… To which Kimmy replies: “So what, I’m supposed to pretend I don’t care?” and the psychologist says “NO you’re supposed to not care!”
*END OF SPOILER*
Now what does this comedy show – which I made sound like a super serious thing by the way – can teach us about ourselves? Well first of all: DO NOT PRETEND. As I explained in this episode, pretending is the worst thing to ever do because it would mean hiding the way you really feel. Keeping a hurtful event as deep as possible will only hurt you for a longer time, and it WILL eventually come back to the surface when you least expect it. Not fun. So don’t pretend in front of others that you’re okay if you’re not. Don’t lie to them and more importantly: don’t lie to yourself! I find that the way we behave with others is often the way we behave with ourselves so being honest with others might help you being honest with yourself too.
And how do you do that? Well simply by accepting these things as the facts that they are. You cannot change them anymore, you can only control the way you react to them, so try to put your efforts in stuff that might actually work and end up being good for you. Do not push things away, do not cover your eyes, just accept it. I also think that pushing away has basically the opposite effect as it sort of revives the negative memories and bad feelings that come with them, and actualize them in your brain, damaging your mental health and probably even your body. Instead, try talking about them with a friend or meditating a little. What I personally did was visualizing people who hurt me and think about the good they have brought me, all I’ve learnt from them including the times they hurt me.
This is a lot more effective and will ironically take way less time. Because getting mad, or like Kimmy Schmidt, worrying about what people think of you, is a full-time job. And as her psychologist says: what ELSE would you be doing if you were not doing that? Do you realize all you’re doing because of others when you could spend this time focusing on your own wellbeing? On your own goals?
If you want to learn more about this, please listen to this week’s episode of Waves Podcast on iTunes, Spotify, iHeartRadio , YouTube and all the other podcast platforms… And don’t forget to leave a review on Apple Podcasts/iTunes too!