Being a ‘good girl’ can be draining at the best of times, and at its worst, it can lead to terrible anxiety and self-doubt, something I’ve got plenty experience of. For there are so many things to consider at all times:
– Am I polite enough?
– Do people like me? And if they don’t, what have I done wrong?
– Am I making the right decisions?
– Am I a good mother?
– Am I a good wife?
– Have I neglected my duties as a sister, daughter, granddaughter, friend, etc.?
– Have I forgotten anyone’s birthday?
– Is the house clean enough?
– Are my children eating too much sugar?
– Should I put some make-up on to look more pleasing?
– Am I pretty enough?
– Am I too fat? Do I need to lose weight?
– Have I offended anyone?
– Am I good enough?
– Did I miss something out on this list?
And so the list goes on ad infinitum.
As if the stress of being a good girl wasn’t enough, I’ve got shelves-loads full of self-help books designed to help me improve myself. But guess what? I’m chucking them all out. Why? Because I’ve found the ultimate self-help book that beats them all.
It was quite by chance that I happened to set eyes on a slightly wine-stained copy (or was it blood?) in my local Daunt bookshop. The title says it all:
The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F**k, by Sarah Knight
Having secured a 10% discount on account of the stained cover, I rushed to the nearest coffee shop, ordered a cappuccino and a freshly baked scone with jam and clotted cream (because I didn’t give a fuck about the calories) and started reading. This is what I learned:
Instead of immediately shouting YES to every request that comes your way and which demands your time, energy and money, take a moment to ask yourself:
“Do I really give a fuck?”
There are of course times when you should give a fuck, such as when “something – be it human, inanimate, or conceptual – does not annoy and does bring your happiness.”
Beware: not giving a fuck doesn’t give you license to be an asshole; on the contrary, the author is very careful to point out that politeness matters a great deal.
Essentially, it’s all about allowing yourself to say no to people without feeling sorry, guilty, anxious or afraid and whilst still being thought of as a nice person.
The things we do and don’t give a fuck about will vary from one person to the next, and although I’ve not yet worked out what my ‘no fuck’ list is, there’s one item on that list I can’t do without (and neither can you): not giving a fuck about what other people think. This one is non-negotiable, the author points out. “All fucks stem from here.”
PS. If in doubt whether or not you should give a fuck about something, here’s an easy-to-follow guideline: