Fi

5 reasons to stop giving a fuck and just be yourself.

In introspection, life crises, social anxiety, tips on August 22, 2011 at 9:31 pm

Last week, I was thinking about how much my words and actions are influenced by what I think that other people will think of me for saying/doing them.

This week, I realized that all that is bullshit.

Here are 5 reasons why we should all stop wasting our lives trying to win the approval of other people and just start doing whatever the fuck we want:

1. If you’re not you, then who the fuck are you?

Come on, seriously: you know who you are. You know where you want to be, what you want to do, and what you want to say.  Sometimes, though, the fear of being judged by others can make you lose sight of all that; maybe you’ve become that shy guy/gal who dresses conservatively and doesn’t say much, lest you embarrass yourself with a conversation-ending remark.  But why should you feel embarrassed if you’re just being yourself?  I think it’s more embarrassing to not speak your mind than it is to say something that isn’t well-received.  At least you fucking said it, you know?

It’s better to cross the line than to just stand there, staring at it.  Have confidence in everything you do — “fake it til you make it”, if you must — and that will be more than enough to carry you through every day with an indestructible smile and swagger.

2. Everyone’s got their own shit to deal with.

There was a memorable phase of my life where I was just afraid to do anything, because I was afraid that people would think I was weird, or “awkward”.  When it got really bad — like, suicide-level bad — I talked to my friend about it. He replied with one of the best tough-love pieces of advice I’ve ever heard:

Do you seriously think people give a fuck about every single thing you do?  I mean, how fucking self-centered must you be to have that mindset?  For being so shy and anxious, you sure seem to have an ego complex; you act like everyone gives a flying fuck about your every word and step.

He couldn’t have put a better perspective on it.  People have their own lives.  They have problems, just like you.  It really is self-centered to think that people are always watching you, setting aside their own stresses so they can focus on yours.  Fuck that.

3. Some people are just natural douchebags.

You know the type — everything is negative with them, and you can’t ever persuade them to think otherwise.  They think every human being is a piece of shit, because they just focus on flaws rather than the positives.  “That girl is such an attention whore.” “That dude talks so arrogantly.” “My friend is just a useless stoner.”  Well, bullshit to all of that.  That girl might have an amazing sense of humor.  That guy might have some seriously awesome hobbies you might want to get into.  That stoner friend might be a kick-ass musician.  You just never know.  If some negative fuck wants to write you off over a few minor flaws, then fuck them.  Eliminate all the negativity in your life and you’ll be much better off for it.

4. Someday, you’re going to fucking die.

That’s pretty simple.  One day, you’re going to fucking die.  And if you don’t do all the shit that you want to do and say all the shit you want to say, you’re going to regret it.  There’s no two ways about it.  Just fucking do shit, and if it doesn’t pan out well, then that’s fine — you’ll learn from it.

5. The only real way to learn is to fuck up.

This is a lesson that has stuck with me for years.  When I become a parent someday, I’m going to raise my kids by that philosophy.  During my childhood, my parents told me countless times not to be wasteful with money, not to do drugs, not to stay out late, and to stay on track with my studies.

And what did I end up doing?  Racking up almost five figures of credit card debt, going on drug binges, not coming home for days at a time, and skipping almost every class for a semester in college.  Their words were useless.

And where am I at now?  I have zero credit card debt, I have my drug use in check, I go home when I need to chill out, and I love learning about everything.

People need to fuck up to learn; it’s a fact.  Someone can tell me a thousand times not to do something, but I will do it anyway; not out of spite, but out of curiosity or just not giving a fuck.  And when I do it and it turns out horribly, then I learn.  And that’s what matters.  If you just do and say whatever you think is right, then you’re either going to 1) have a positive result and benefit from it, or 2) fuck up, and learn to do things differently.  It’s a win-win.

I stopped giving a damn about what other people ‘expected’ and ‘thought’ of me a few weeks ago, and my life has been stellar ever since.  I’ve made plenty of mistakes along the way, and done things that I am not too proud of, but overall I’m still happy with every single thing I’ve done.  There was no grand epiphany that made this happen; it just slowly dawned on me that if I’m not living my life, then I’m letting everyone else live it for me.  And that is the biggest fuck-up a person can do to themselves.

Just start loving yourself.  Easier said than done, to be sure, but it’s a worthwhile struggle.


What’s stopping you from living your life as you please?  Seriously.


UPDATE (2/16/2014): I’m amazed at how much traffic this post has continued to get after two and a half years! If you’d like any additional advice on this subject tailored to your own personal situation (or just an ear willing to listen), feel free to contact me using the form below. I’ll do my best to get back to you as soon as possible! (All correspondence will be kept completely confidential.)

  1. Words of wisdom indeed.

  2. What’s stopping me from living my life as I please is exactly what you’ve described here. I’m happy you’ve used the term “self centered” because I believe that most people who are extremely concerned with what other people think aim to be the opposite of self centered, and would actually change because they care so much about the people around them. It’s sometimes easier to change for the benefit of others than just for ourselves; altruism I suppose. For me living in another city without my childhood friends and family makes it easier to worry about approval from others; when you’re home with familiar faces and places, those that know and love you well aren’t misinterpret things you say and do and judging you. We all have a family member or friend that doesn’t always approve of our words and actions, but because of our history with the person we accept that sometimes people disagree and it isn’t the end of the friendship or the world for that matter. Like you say there are people out there that will be negative and rain on your parade but why should you care so much? Hope to stop giving a fuck soon so I can just be myself, thank for posting.

    • I agree that sometimes it’s easier to change for the benefit of others rather than ourselves, but I’d say that that’s because it’s often hard to get yourself to change unless you know that it will be noticed and appreciated. Sometimes, the best changes we make in ourselves are those that aren’t immediately noticeable to others (e.g., loving yourself a bit more, finding silver linings).

      Looking at it from a perspective of ‘altruism’ is an interesting concept, and there are definitely occasions where we don’t realize the consequences of our actions (or inactions) until they affect someone close to us. It moves into a gray area of sorts, though — are we really changing to benefit others, or to benefit others’ perceptions of ourselves?

      Thanks for your feedback!

  3. I Love This Post, I Honestly Give Too Many Fucks And It’s Gotten Me Nowhere But Staying At Home On The Weekends And Crying Over Failed Relationships And Friendships! But I’m Not Giving Any Fucks I’m Doing Only
    what I Wanna Do And Living My
    life Exactly How I Feel It Should Who Gives A Damn What Any Body Dosent Like About Me Take It Or Leave It, I’m Glad I
    read This Day 1 Of Not Giving A Fuck Lets See What Happens!!!

  4. [...] articlesFootball Is The Hardest Sport To Explain To Children And Stupid People (deadspin.com)5 reasons to stop giving a fuck and just be yourself. (functionalinsanity.wordpress.com)Related PostsName Change Posted in Uncategorized | No Comments [...]

  5. I absolutly luv this. I already really culd care less abt evrythin. To me no givin a fuck is da only way for livin a happy life in dis world.

  6. […] 5 reasons to stop giving a fuck and just be yourself. | FUNCTIONALinsanity You're pathetic. […]

  7. Dear Author:

    Well written, plenty of vulgarity and a swift kick in the ass. Just what I’ve been looking for, but there remains one burning question: How? How did you stop giving a fuck what people thought about you or your actions? Was it really that easy for you? Because I’ve been struggling with this dilemma most of my life and it’s fucking debilitating. I’m wasting my goddamn life and I know it but I just can’t overcome this shit. It’s like a fucking leech sucking the life out of me. I hate it and it’s miserable.

    Halp.

    Sincerely,

    An angsty 20-something.

    • Hi Chad,

      It definitely wasn’t an easy process. There was just one day where I asked myself, “what’s making me so unhappy?” I like to write out my thoughts, and I spent several hours just listing things off. When the list was all finished, the one overarching theme of all those sources of unhappiness was that I was letting external pressures force me to cave. Those pressures led to doing things I didn’t want to do, and not doing things I -did- want to do.

      As far as turning that realization into action, there’s nothing to it but to do it. In the world of psychotherapy, it’s called “exposure therapy.” Next time you’re in a situation where you’re normally compelled to act in contradiction with what you actually want to do, take control. Break those bad habits, no matter how uncomfortable it might be (and I guarantee that it -will- be). Realize that nobody can fault you for just being yourself.

      Take the shyness example from my post: as someone who got sick of being painfully quiet and socially anxious for such a long time, I one day made the conscious decision to just speak up. It didn’t matter that I was saying something that -I- thought was dumb or irrelevant; the point of it was just to break the barrier of silence and realize that taking action can only yield good results (even “bad” results, as described in reason #5, usually turn out to be good in the end). As I got more comfortable saying what I thought, that comfort transferred into other areas of my life: professional goals, romantic pursuits, and self-esteem in general.

      The first few steps are the hardest, but you’ll see benefits almost immediately. You’ll feel better about who you are and what you do, because those two things will start to align. As they start to align, you’ll find that your confidence builds and builds, making each new attempt at “being yourself” easier and easier.

      I hope that this helps!

  8. Really worthwhile post. My life revolved around women and trying to keep them happy. NGAF begins now and the only thing that matters is making myself happy.

    Thanks, this really helped!

  9. I fucking love this so much. I honestly wish more people would think like this and just be themselves. Once you stop giving a fuck about what people think life is so much better. It’s your life so live it!

  10. I tend to come to these conclusions from time to time, but then I forget about it and keep being miserable. Now I’m printing out this sh*t ( == great post) and putting it on my desk, so can read it every time I feel useless. Because this is indeed the attitude one must have to life. My motto lately has been “keep failing”, and this post just confirms my beliefs.

  11. Absolutely fantastic. This is what I needed. Down-to-the-point, take no prisoners honesty. Thank you so much. You may have just saved a life here.

  12. I thought myself a nobody and didnt give myself the chance to put myself first, this and a number of other decent people finally helped me work through this tough time in my life. I did learn my own way, and i would love to say you all helped me do this.

    • Congratulations to you on getting through those rough times! You can never go wrong when you have good, supportive people (and posts?) around you.

  13. This is #1 forever

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