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This is perhaps the most refreshing blog post I've read in a long time: Julien Smith's Complete Guide to Not Giving a Fuck. Very timely as I've just gone through a period where I was deeply concerned about what people were thinking about me, and it was driving me nuts. Julien's advice: people are judging you right now and there is nothing you can do about it. Furthermore, you don't need everyone to like you. The part on focusing on the people who actually care about you is priceless (think of the people you can - and probably do unfortunately - take for granted). You must read Julien's guide right now!
Note: My first reaction was not to use a swear word in the title, or quote the actual title of Julien's post because of the F bomb, but Julien makes a great point about that too: don't hide your true voice, the eye you feel watching you can do only that - watch. So fuck it, here's to Julien!
We've all had to deal with crap: difficult people like a tyrannical boss or scheming coworkers and/or difficult situations like losing a job, trouble with your child at school, or even the loss of a loved one (whether through a breakup or even death). How we deal with crap says a lot about who we are. Often we don't even know how to consciously deal with difficult people and situations and we fall back on our unconscious learned/automatic responses. Its helpful to consider our options when dealing with being hit by something bad. There are three things we can do:
Try to avoid the crap. This is when you try not to come in contact with the thing causing you distress: for example, staying clear of that difficult boss, trying to stay in everyone's good books lest they speak ill of you or scheme behind your back, or simply shutting out feelings of sadness, loss or anger. Sometimes this method manifests itself in excuses.
Be a victim. This is when you allow yourself to be hit. Your boss may be arrogant and unfair, your colleagues may be saying false things about you, you may be utterly depressed that your partner left you but at least you are right. Everyone can see that you are the victim and not the aggressor. At least you will have well earned pity and sympathy. Others might go out of their way to feel sorry for you and maybe help you stand up again.
Make space for the crap. This is when you accept the difficult person or difficult situation. It's a fact and you work around it. The only way to make space for bad things is to accept that it is there and to act to get out of crap's way, whether it be physically, emotionally or psychologically.
The first two methods are the usual responses we have when faced by bad things. They are also the two options where the crap persists or impacts us directly. The last option requires that we take responsibility for the difficult thing and deal with it. It's also the only option for having any power over it.
Enough preaching! How about an example: I remember a moment years ago when I was confronted by two friends, and they were upset about something I said or did. They confronted me at a party and I felt literally trapped - I'd have to explain myself (an excuse - i.e. avoid the issue), or sit there and take their rage (be a victim - maybe others would see this and think not so nice of my friends). In a moment of clarity, I realized there was another option, I could make space for their anger, in fact I could make a lot of space for their anger by simply turning around and leaving! I didn't try to make them less angry, I didn't allow myself to become the victim, I simply accepted that they were upset and made space for it in my life by turning around and walking away from the confrontation. I wasn't avoiding their anger, I made a decision not to care about it, but accepting that they would continue to be upset.
Please Tell Me There Is A Video
Yes, there is a helpful video segment to today's post! Dealing with bad things is a lot like dealing with being physically hit: you can try to avoid the punch, sit there and take it, or as many martial arts such as Akido would teach, make space for the hit - work with the hit, not against it. In this segment from the Tonight Show in 1973, Werner Erhard demonstrates for guest host John Denver how you can deal with being hit (it comes after the first commercial break, so watch the video to the end):