Our bodies need emotional wellbeing as well as nutritional fuel and so sometimes I focus on this side of life too. Recently Sarah Knights’s ’The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F**k’ came my way. I was intrigued. Many people on my Facebook feed were intrigued by it too. I read it. I made some notes….
The book is laugh-out-loud funny and worth reading for the feel-good reason alone although at the same time, I did quickly tire of hearing the ‘F’ word. It’s a simple book with a simple message about saving time, energy and money (also known as ‘the holy F’ing trinity’), but unfortunately that doesn’t make implementing it simple as well! Our minds are like little puppies that need to be trained or else they will poo everywhere, and so every little reminder to keep training them is very helpful.
Worrying What Other People Think
The main point take away from the book is this; I wouldn’t want people to feel obliged to do something for me if they didn’t want to and I can only know how they feel about this if they tell me, ideally respectfully and kindly. Therefore most people (that care about me) wouldn’t ultimately (at least once considered) want me to do this for them either. Therefore it is up to me to express how I feel and what I want…..and don’t want.
Sarah highlights that many of us worry way too much about what people think of us, which is a waste of time. Firstly, how can we know what people think, we often can’t even figure out what we think. Secondly, we have no control over this at all, so again it is just a WASTE OF OUR TIME.
Thirdly, its important to remember that thinking about this shows that we care and that we are not selfish beings, thinking only of ourselves. It is important to consider other people. That is good. There is just no reason to keep worrying about it afterwards or not living our lives fully because of it.
Sarah suggests it is best to consider your behaviour with regards to people’s feelings, not their opinions.
Feelings vs Opinions
It is a passive stance to politely disagree with someone’s opinion. This is allowed. This is completely acceptable. It is easy enough to say “I don’t share your opinion” without being rude. It is being honest, which is important.
“Don’t like peanut butter? Don’t need to be rude. Be honest and polite and say that you don’t share their opinion that peanut butter is something you want to put in your mouth. No skin off [your] nose if [she] walks away convinced [your] arteries are clogged with trans fats. [You] prefer a little hydrogenated veg oil in [your] sandwich”
I can’t argue with that, but as a nutritional therapist, it did make me laugh.
“I’m sorry, I don’t have time to read your self-published novel about gnomes, but I wish you all the best with it.”
“I don’t like tea”
…..You don’t have to be sorry. You really don’t. Even though it can be so hard if you are a natural people pleaser.
Implementing, in Phases
Sarah calls her method the NotSorry Method and suggests starting with Phase I, ‘f**ks’ that only affect you, such as wrinkles or unfollowing (not unfriending) somebody on Facebook and getting comfortable with this, before moving on. Phase II is ‘unreasonable drains on energy, time and money’ and covers shared envelopes at work, work events, needy friends and so on. Phase III is things that are not always seen as socially acceptable, or where people may think that you are an arsehole. For example not accepting a wedding invitation. Sarah suggests sending regrets (no explanations) with a really nice gift. So much cheaper than a hotel, train ticket and outfit; plus that doesn’t eat into precious annual leave allowance.
Worrying About It Afterwards?
This is common. Remember that you made the right decision. Eventually you will stop giving a f**k about everyone’s opinion, but this is a process that needs training and practice.
Worry is a common issue that people seek help with. NHS services are now available to support with various cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) techniques. A common one of those is The Worry Tree, a flow chart to help guide the user through their worry and decide what to do. Often the branches of this tree will arrive at the statement ‘let the worry go’ and Sarah’s NotSorry Method fits in perfectly here as a way being energised and supported to do that.
‘The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F**K’ was inspired by Marie Kondo’s ’The Life Changing-Magic of Tidying Up’, which Sarah and her husband greatly benefitted from. they took the ideas a step further to apply them to mental tidying up. Sarah also has another book out called ‘Get Your Shit Together: how to stop worrying about what you should do, so you can finish what you need to do and start doing what you want.’ This sounds like another good read.