There’s a certain liberation in not caring what others think. The carefree attitude can be uplifting and calming, an unleashing of the spirit. Yet there are certainly dangers in not caring as well.
You can easily slide past not caring into being careless. I’ve done that. Thinking that I’m being liberated when I’m just being mean and thoughtless. Not caring does not mean not being aware. Nothing like watching the hurt on someone’s face caused by your carelessness to bring that home. So you have to watch that slide.
You can also confuse not caring with not paying attention to other opinions, with not learning from other points of view. And that’s just stupid. Don’t do that.
You see, the part of the liberation of not caring what others think I like the best is that all doors become open. In fact what really happens is that there are no doors at all. There are just openings. You don’t have to choose to open the door. You don’t have to choose to close the door. You just have to choose which opening to walk through.
Of course, that’s where the rub lies. Liberation can bring paralysis. You mean I can choose any option? Anyone at all? But there are so many good options. I can’t pick. Which is the right one? What if I’m wrong?
So sometimes you need liberation from your liberation. The path to liberation from your liberation is in not needing to be right. You think you may have achieved this already by deciding to not care what others think, which obviously entails a great degree of dismissing opinions of whether you are right or wrong. And you are right. Not that you should care.
But the last piece of the puzzle here is not placing so much emphasis on whether you think you are right or wrong. Because sometimes you’ll be right and sometimes you’ll be wrong. That’s OK. Be comfortable with that. Go easy on yourself. You can only work with the knowledge and experience you have at that moment. There are so many things you don’t know and can’t control. So it is with all of us.
So trust yourself. Go ahead. It’s OK. It will feel good. Then be humble. If your choice doesn’t work out, you just say to yourself “well, that didn’t quite work out as planned. Now what?” I have to do that all the time. You become quite good at it, actually. And isn’t it how we react to adversity that so often defines who we are? Go ahead, be wrong, define yourself.
Which for some reason reminds me of this: