My Best Attempt to Explain "Not Caring What People Think"

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Sitting here at 4:35 am with insomnia my mind is racing and I doubt ill be sleeping any time soon. I am however surprising myself with my ability to freeflow my thoughts into words in my semiconscious state. So I decided to write the post I've been meaning to write for awhile

Caring what people think is something that is engrained in us from an early age, from taking your fingerpaintings and waving them in your parents face so they'll hang them up on the refrigerator to sibling rivalry to asking around school if "that girl" would be interested in going to prom with you before you actually ask. In our struggle to find ourselves we search outwards for validation as to what we "think" we are, proof for our newly formed thoughts to become beliefs, to become convictions. As that process is repeated over and over it becomes easier to do, we don't think about it, we just do it. 1+1=2, you don't have to sit there and think about such simple and common things and count on your fingers and put them together and wonder why, it just is.

This is a pattern, and breaking it requires a pattern interrupt. Mine came from emotional pain, where a painful breakup resulted from other people dictating the fate and direction of the relationship. Certainly there were other factors, but even the slightest influence of that, combined with my desperate validation seeking for months after, made me realize a few things.

1) Validation is a drug, and a very addictive one. Our highest highs and our lowest lows come from others when we are confused and reacting too much. To take one you have to take the other. Who here HASN'T been feeling on top of the world because things were going extremely well with a girl you just met, and then felt deflated because she seems more into some other guy later? They are caused by the same principle. In Tyler's blog entry "The joys of being on the "Y" list" He says something to the effect of "Don't take the props too seriously because then you'll have to take the criticism as well" That is what I'm talking about here.

2) Those "highest highs" are extremely painful to give up. Not caring what other people think of you would mean not feeling that from that source that has in my rough insomniated estimation been granted to you well over 250,000 times in your life to various degrees. Not only that, to come "full circle" and fully internalize a new way of thinking would take all the validation OF the validation, i.e. taking away the experience of the past.

3) You will NEVER have enough. External validation seems to be something that comes and goes, it wears off, and you go seeking more. You could number close a supermodel and be in full shining nimbus glory or whatever for 3 days, maybe even a week, but it WILL eventually dissipate and fade, and you will be left with whatever you were before.

4) This is too large of a part of your life to just remove. And what I mean by that is that it must be replaced with something else. You have done it, I almost guarantee you, from time to time. Self validation, being satisfied with the performance you gave. I have a theory that the reason people procrastinate is because it gives them both a boost and an excuse. Writing a paper for school, doing a presentation for work, and finishing 3 hours before it's due when you had 6 weeks to work on it gives you a feeling of accomplishment when you're in the validation-seeking mindset. "I did 6 weeks of work in 4 hours, wow, I'm good." You turn it in with a smile, and when you get feedback on it, you have an effective buffer if it does not go well. "I rushed through that, of course it wasn't perfect, etc."

5) Your mind builds success barriers/self defense mechanisms to protect you. I was glad to see Tyler write this, it put to words some random thoughts that had been floating around in my mind. Examples include the procrastination one I said above. I have never read Eckhart Tolle or listened to anything of his but I think I get the jist of it from this forum. I plan to study his stuff soon. Success barriers are a product of your ego, living for RIGHT NOW would eliminate all the experience you *think* you are taking from your past

6) The tradeoff. To hit the "validation highs" through a different neural pathway is hard fucking work, make no mistake. In fact, if you take everything here to heart and work and DO NOT slip once, it is likely you will not feel that good again for a year or more. You spent years developing this pattern, and it needs to be replaced. But if you can just let that go, and not care, you would surprise yourself every day. Ozzie wrote about failing hard, failing now, get used to it, realize you're not gonna die, detach all emotions from failure AND success. No ego to hold you back, where you spend 6 weeks on a 6 week paper and you get a B+ on it, and you smile more than the kid who got a perfect score because YOU know that you gave it everything you had, and YOU don't care what the grade is.

Challenge yourself, every day, do something you didn't think you were capable of, every day, Scare yourself, scream, laugh, and do it again. You expose yourself to a range of emotions that is typical of people who have all the power and resources to experience whatever they want, only YOU know it came from within so you get more gratification. Will that sort of thing fade in 3-4 days? No fucking way. I am trying to get back into one of my favorite things to do, something I can vibrantly remember more than ANY drunk girl at a bar I made out with and felt good about. One of my strongest passions is fighting and training MMA. Not many other people have a clue why I do it or understands much about it. I can't even try to explain it, but I believe it simplifies the basic formula im trying to get at here- Do your best, or get hurt. Pretty strong motivator huh? I did exactly all those things at the beginning of the paragraph when I was training, I communicated it in every pattern and rythm of my speech, tone, bodylanguage, and overall self. When I was training, my game would skyrocket. And I would be sober, and out, with bruises and scratches but the most important thing I had was a core satisfaction that I lived a day that had more challenge and excitement than most people get in a year. Now how, coming from that place, would you EVER let those people judge you?

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