Today, we’re going to cover how to get through a common life struggle: anxiety and not caring what others think. I believe the two are related.
Most think of not giving a crap what others think as something that protects you from people who say nasty things about you online or at school or after you’ve done something embarrassing. But I also think of it when you care too much about others’ well being.
As someone with “nice guy” tendencies, I sometimes try to people-please. I sometimes stress myself with anxiety because I’m concerned if people think of me well or if my actions are hurting others. But you can’t always make everyone happy by people pleasing; the more people there are, there’s always someone who has some issue no matter what you do. Or you could end up overburdening yourself in a way that ultimately doesn’t serve you by always putting others first.
Now, I think it’s partially good to help and please others. Many Eastern countries believe and benefit from have a community-first and family-first approach. And what’s wrong with trying to make the world a better place by improving other people’s lives? But according to the book No More Mr. Nice Guy, being nice is sometimes selfish. Some nice guys are only being nice as a form of manipulation to get something back from others they feel they’re owed. So be careful of that! Are you really being selfless? Or are you expecting something?
I believe I’ve rid of myself of doing things in expectation of getting something back. I do what I do because it’s the moral thing to do. My overthinking mind sometimes dwells a lot on when I unintentionally do something that can hurt someone. The small things that can be solved with an apology or happen off a small interaction, like a stranger who gets mad at me because of a little mistake in my driving or accidentally bumping into someone, aren’t worth dwelling over. I’m fairly good at getting over those things.
It’s the somewhat bigger things that stress me out, like when I’ve known someone for at least a few days and there’s an actual relationship. One example is when after a date or two, one person is more into the other. That’s probably why people ghost so often. They’d rather just not respond than do the hard thing and tell them to their face it’s not a fit. At the same time, I hear that people prefer to be told even though it’s not pleasant for either party. Apparently, most women (not all) prefer the honesty.
Similarly, giving feedback to someone at work or even letting someone go is sometimes the toughest things you have to do. It’s not pleasant for any party, but it’s often the better thing to do than to avoid it indefinitely, delaying the pain.
One method I’ve heard from a licensed therapist is to consider is leaning into those emotions rather than avoid them and be with them rather than fight them away. Like a riptide, if you try to swim away from it, it just keeps you there. You have to swim with the wave or parallel to the beach to get out of it. Similarly, if you try to get out of your anxiety, despair, or stress in those moments, it’ll probably bring you back in. A study found that those who tried to put off and avoid studying by going on Facebook only increased their anxiety.
And then, there’s the anxiety and dwelling that happens before, during, and after …
Was I as good a person as I could be?
Could I have delivered the news better?
Should I have been more honest earlier on?
Perhaps, I’m a bit worried about how I’ll be remembered, but I’m more so just in pain at the possibility of me causing pain in the world.
Sometimes, I feel it’s better to be an a-hole! There seems to be plenty of men breaking women’s hearts, lying all the time, leaving a trail of people they have pissed off, and living life, not giving a crap. But also, I know that’s not the best way either. According to books like What Women Want by Tucker Max, being dishonest comes back to bite you in the butt and ends up being net worse than honesty.
I guess the best philosophy is somewhere in between. The book calls it the tender defender; being assertive just enough and kind in the right moments. Harden yourself like an a-hole when it’s necessary so you’re not excessively dwelling on being nice to everyone, put your best foot forward, and realize it’s going to be okay. I mean literally Tucker Max got famous writing about his adventures pissing off women, sometimes even leaving naked women stranded, and he ended up fine. It’s really not the end of the world like I make it out to be if I rub someone the wrong way, especially if I try my best not to.
According to Mark Manson’s The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, the solution is to realize you have a limited amount of f*cks to give and to choose to use them wisely. While the math is simple, it’s easier said than done because we’re all emotional creatures. When we’re pissed off at an Instagram comment or dwelling on someone we know in real life we felt we communicated to wrong, our emotional brain is in control. Our rational brain might be shouting, “This is not worth your time!” but it’s not in control! So, we often go on to continue caring about something we shouldn’t!
What’s the solution? More practice? More willpower training through meditation? Perhaps. A study did find that 10 minutes of mindfulness meditation a week increased well being and reduced job strain.
I don’t have all the answers but I have found that consistent awareness and practice can help develop a system that works for you. If you’re prepared, you can at least improve or reduce the time you’re in that “red zone” because you know how to cool off, what not to do, and when to recognize it’s happening.
Gratitude can also get you out of your little world.
When someone’s situation is way below yours, you can’t help but to stop complaining.
Take Jon Morrow of Smartblogger.com I found out that it costs him $120,000 a year just to stay alive from medical bills because of his medical condition.
Just to keep breathing and living in the USA, he’s had to find some way to make at least $120,000. Or he had to stay in another country where medical services are cheaper.
Not only has he done it, he’s done it without being able to move anything below his neck through voice dictation technology. He managed to do that and make $100,000 a month in sales.
Look at Brandon of Brandongaille.com
He met with hundreds of the top doctors and specialists in the world who still couldn’t figure out his problem.
He battled through cancer, his wife’s cancer, his heart bleeding out, and severe health issues, like the inability to sleep.
After hundreds of doctors and years of struggle, he miraculously found a medication and controlled environment that allowed him to sleep.
It forces him to sleep 13 hours a day in an expensive room that cuts out all noise and light.
Lazy people don’t want to work more than 8 hours a day.
Hard working people push themselves by working 20 hours a day.
Brandon used to work 20 hours a day but he didn’t have the luxury to work hard if he wanted to anymore. He was working from a time disadvantage everyday because of how much he needed to sleep. At max, he could do 11 hours a day.
Despite the expensive medication, room bills, and lack of time due to sleep, he was able to build a 7-figure business through his blog.
Part of me is not surprised because of how much time the average person wastes a day, but also I’m just impressed and grateful. They’ve come so far with less. So, do I really need to be shooting myself in the foot every day with negative thoughts and fears in my head and dwelling on things? Put your best foot forward, stay positive, surround yourself with positive content, and smile!
I’ll conclude with the Dala Lamai’s simple answer to anxiety when asked, according to the Book of Joy that he wrote with Desmond Tutu. He said that people have anxiety because they have these high expectations that they are having a hard time living up to. When you put such high goals on yourself, they’re difficult, often unrealistic to achieve, so you’re almost setting yourself up for stress and anxiety.
So, while I generate gratitude from Brandon’s and Jon’s stories, I don’t beat myself up for not having a 7-figure blog yet. Having been in the blog space for a while, I know how rare and tough that is. Speaking of, check out my online courses and resources on productivity and improving your life here.
So, to all the fellow nice people out there, the next time you’re caring too much about something or someone, take a deep breathe. Walk out in nature. Find something to be grateful for. Still do what you can to do the right thing. But once it’s out of your control, there’s no use dwelling on it. And even if someone thinks you’re the worst, just realize that the world isn’t going to end because of it. There’s plenty of a-holes out there who are doing much worse things than you.