The Subtle Art Of Not Giving A Fuck is the last "self help" book you'll ever need, other than something like "How To Do The Best Chin-Up That Will Leave You Ripped"... in seriousness though, let's begin. I'm going to reveal personal bits about me (I know I already warned you), and if that makes you uncomfortable, I urge you to read on anyway. Get uncomfortable for once in your life... a lesson brought to you by TSAONGAF. That's really long. SANGF... better.
I was with my husband for ten years, and we had a four year friendship before that which was sparked by a two week-ish teenage romance ending in, "You're nice but there's a lot more to experience out there and I need to go do that."
Three days before the emotionally incomprehensible departure from the life that I knew, my stomach was wrapped in an iron snake, constantly constricting and forcing me to experience the pain I'd harbored mentally, all over my body. I realized I was at the precipice of a decision that there was no going back from, one that I'd ignored in waves, and brought up in waves, that came and went as I decided to be complacent with the fact that things weren't great, and it was my fault. That's not to say everything was my fault, because that would be entitled, but of all the choices I had available, I chose the easy ones most of the time.
It was finally time for a hard choice.
The book discusses a wide variety of reasons as to why we're little shits and avoid the hard choices, or speak dishonesties, or indulge in random sex, drink too much, not ask that pretty girl out, get complacent at our job, avoid writing... so on and so forth of easy choices. But most of it comes down to our core values, and what we really give a fuck about.
Onto more of the book reviewishy stuff... The first 40 pages were, in my opinion, not super helpful. They were things I'd already learned through my last stint of emotional development from ages 24-28 and so it was just a bit of reinforcement. "These things that I've learned in the past 4 years seem to be 'not bullshit'." It was a good feeling knowing I hadn't wasted my time learning something incorrect, but I already knew that, because it felt right.
In any case, the first 40 pages of the book drops the F*Bomb about 20 times a page or more. That gets a bit exhausting and I honestly wasn't that interested in all the fucks. They were fluffy page filler that made me grumpy about trudging forward, but I was promised a chewy caramel center, so I went on.
Chapter 3 was where we broached a topic I was very familiar with, but not quite on board with or had some other reservations about it. It was where the meat of my literary adventure began. Somewhere around the mid way point, we came to the chapters talking about "Why you always feel like shit." and somewhere deep in me I knew why, but luckily there was someone there to say it. There was a mismatch in my perceived core value, and the life I was living.
Loyalty is one of my core values. I'd left my husband. Loyalty + Leaving Husband = Mismatch. I hated myself and I hated that I hated myself. Why? Why am I so angry? Why am I destroying myself physically and mentally?
After a lot of self destruction and torment and intense loathing (all while in the midst of reading the book over a few month period) I finally sat myself down for a talk. By that I mean I got high and took myself for a walk (it's ok it's legal where I live).
"Why do you feel you've been disloyal?"
"Because I left."
"But why does that make you disloyal?"
"Because I hurt him."
"Hurting != Loyalty breaking."
"Because pain does not mean you broke trust, aka, disloyalty."
"But he thought he could depend on me, and now I'm gone. That's not loyalty."
"And you thought you could depend on you, but you couldn't, so how could he ever? That's not loyalty, either."
"So... I was never loyal?"
I realized that I'd never lived my core value. Or at least, never fully lived it, because I wasn't loyal to what I wanted or needed. How could I be what someone else wanted and needed if I wasn't first what I wanted and needed to be?
Let's dive back down into indulging in momentary pleasures, and skirting responsibilities, and everything else that people do when they can't make hard choices.It was time to either abandon loyalty as a core value and make way for whatever had been there all along (I'm not sure what it was...) or adopt it full and true.
I'm right at the edge of that hard choice. I've been avoiding it. Pacing back and forth like a caged animal trapped at her own volition. I don't like being on this side. It's not a nice place to be in where you're constantly living for the next dopamine hit, becoming completely non-functional when you go too long without it. But moving forward is hard, and hardship hurts.
I know from the outside it looks like a simple solution: Being a shit makes me momentarily happy, but persistently unhappy, so I should stop being a shit. I wish the solution was as simple as saying it. I've got this awful tendency to go balls out on something, and then burning myself out on that something. I want to change overnight. I want to wake up tomorrow and find it easy to say no to drinking and say yes to working out hard and eating healthy, say no to laziness and yes to writing more, say no to binging Netflix and yes to reading another book.
Mason (the author) goes on to say "It's better do to anything, rather than nothing." So, I'm going to start with as many little bits of "anything" I can manage in a day. It took me a solid two years when working with my second mentor to stop being so selfish and see that other humans felt too. Two years. I think that's a good benchmark. Afterall, I theoretically have a couple of decades left, so two years isn't really that much time. So, over the next two years, from this night, I'm going to work on being loyal to me, the things I really need, and I think I can make it.
Thus ends my quasi-book review, mostly life-info dump. It was really hard being honest with you guys, but I wanted to be loyal to what I wanted, and I wanted to share an experience with you that is changing me.
Read the book. The Subtle Art Of Not Giving A Fuck.