last year, we had selected a series of books ahead of time for my short-lived book club. one of the ones that stood out both because of the bold title and because it was a new york times best seller was…
the subtle art of not giving a f*ck – a counterintuitive approach to living a good life by mark manson
this book was amazing to read. it made me laugh, it made me feel understood and it made me reevaluate what i dedicate my energy to.
while it is important to give a fuck about something, it is not only impossible, but unnecessary to give a fuck about absolutely everything. there was this short paragraph within the first few pages that set the tone for the entire book for me: and while there’s nothing wrong with good business, the problem is that giving too many fucks is bad for your mental health. it causes you to become overly attached to the superficial and fake, to dedicate your life to chasing a mirage of happiness and satisfaction. the key to a good life is not giving a fuck about more; it’s giving a fuck about less, giving a fuck about only what is true and immediate and important.
what would my world be like if i only gave a fuck about what was true and important?
here is what it looks like: being able to dedicate time, energy and love to those (things and people) that are truly deserving/worthwhile. this also means not later apologizing for being able to prioritize the things that matter, which, by the way, includes yourself.
i placed a post it on that page at some point last year. and while i may have just finished the book last weekend in mexico, it is not a point that i ever forgot about. when i picked the book back up, there were so many other pieces that stood out to me.
as a society, we are taught to measure how we feel about ourselves based on each accomplishment. and there is a certain benchmark for each accomplishment. but what if you are moving at a different pace? what if the typical accomplishments are not ones that matter to you? as i continued reading, i stumbled upon this idea: the true measurement of self-worth is not how a person feels about their positive experiences, but rather how she feels about her negative experiences.
so many of those benchmarks that i was using to measure myself happened once every 3-5 years. what about everything else? what about my ability to persevere and be resilient through the most difficult of times? how was that not being taken into consideration when i evaluated myself? if i was able to overcome relationships and situations that could have knocked me out, what does that say about me? arguably, it says more about me than being able to simply sail through the best of times.
the last piece i want to leave you with is his piece on love and intimate relationships: the truth is, there are healthy forms of love and unhealthy forms of love. unhealthy love is based on two people trying to escape their problems through their emotions for each other — in other words, they are using each other as an escape. healthy love is based on two people acknowledging and addressing their own problems with each other’s support.
when i tell you that i thought back to every relationship or situationship i have been in to try and figure out which category it fell into, i was shook. how had i normalized countless types of unhealthy forms of love? when all you know is one thing, it becomes the norm no matter its impact on your emotional or mental health. even as a therapist, this was eyeopening.
mark manson is completely raw, authentic and unapologetic. he owns all of his shit – both the good and the bad. that is what made this book exponentially more relatable. i would highly recommend it to anyone, especially someone who is looking to elevate themselves (which truly requires leaping outside of their comfort zone).