The Art of Not Caring

Not caring what other people think has been, hands down, the most difficult thing I’ve had to learn to do. It goes against all of my natural instincts, which is to do everything within my power to be liked and not let on what a nervous and anxious person I really am.

Meeting new people, for me, is terrifying. I resemble a rabbit in the headlights, about to be squashed by an oncoming lorry whilst I’m desperately trying not to stutter because my tongue and teeth refuse to cooperate and form a simple “Hello”.

My brain goes into overdrive, analysing every little detail about what I’m saying, how I’m saying it, and what the other person’s face is doing whilst I’m saying it. It is, quite frankly, exhausting.

We all have a need to be liked and feel included, because it’s human nature. Being part of the pack means you won’t be left to starve alone in the wild, so being socially accepted rather than cast away for being strange is the modern version of pack mentality. But it doesn’t always make us happy.

I woke up on my first day of university petrified at the thought that I would never make a single friend. I thought I’d be the oddball from Jersey, that has no friends and can’t say her last name without putting a hundred extra W’s in front of it. Opening with”My name is R-ria W-w-w-w-wolstenholme” isn’t the way I wanted to make a first impression.

My fear of rejection had evolved into something that truly took over my day to day routine. I’d apologise  to people when there was nothing to be sorry for, just in case I’d upset them without knowing. I’d feel guilty for not accepting invitations to events, but would often cancel plans because I didn’t want to be in a situation where I felt overwhelmingly anxious and couldn’t leave. I was always worried I was invited to things because people felt sorry for me, so never knew if I was genuinely liked or just pitied. I was treating myself like a nuisance, and so in turn became one to myself.

My first year of university taught me a lot about myself, and my own mentality. I began to realise that if I didn’t give myself a break, and stop worrying so much about what other people thought, and how I was perceived, I’d never be happy. Caring that much about other people’s opinions and judgments was not worth the endless nights sat alone in my room, worrying about nothing.

Now, I’m happy being me. I don’t care what people think of me, because I’ve become more comfortable with who I am as a person. I no longer seek the approval of others, because I’ve learnt that I don’t have to justify myself or my actions to anybody. As long I’m happy with who I am and what I do, that’s all that matters.

In reality, nobody cares as much as you think they do. So there’s no point in you caring what they think.

 

Burnt Toast

There are some days when burning your toast in the morning is the final straw to tip you over the edge. You go from teetering on the verge of handling it all, to falling face first into the pile of rubble that is your life. It just happens.

However, in today’s world, our phone screens are flooded with images of perfect, happy people, living their absolute best life. There is no hint at a bad day, or even a bad minute, because these people are perfectly polished social media influencers. There’s no room for them to be real, but we all buy into the facade that they are.

A recent video made a couple of days ago by YouTube’s king himself, Shane Dawson, brought to light the harsh reality that these perfectly packaged people are in fact battling demons of their own. The video discussed the turbulence of being a creative person, and how it seemingly goes hand in hand with being, as he said, “dark and fucked up.” And I couldn’t agree more.

Shane talks about how the more darkness there is inside of you, the more creative a person you are. Because whatever you suffer with acts as a tool that you can utilise in your creative outlets. It makes people connect with you and your content, and helps navigate online users away from the sugar-coated posed world of many influencers. A way to bring them back down to earth, if you will.

Another article that sparked my interest whilst searching for the reason why creative people are depressed after watching Shane’s video, was this. It’s now seven years old, but still wildly accurate. For those of you too lazy to click the link, here’s what it contains:

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This sums up, for me, how to explain why wanting to create but actually creating is a constant war in your own mind.

The fear of rejection, the self-doubt of ability, and the worry that someone else will interfere or steal from you makes even starting the creative process seem like it’s not worth it.

But if your creative outlet makes you happy, and helps you channel the unexplainable struggle you feel, then ignore the doubt and don’t let anybody stop you. Creativity is what keeps people going a lot of the time, and as Shane said to his audience, and I feel on behalf of #TeamInternet , “It’s comforting to know that we’re all doing the fucking best we can.”

And really, if all you can do today is your best, then at least you got up and tried.

That’s the most important thing.

Rest

“You find that you have peace of mind and can enjoy yourself, get more sleep, and rest when you know that it was a one hundred percent effort that you gave – win or lose.” – Gordie Howe

I didn’t know how else to start this post, other than with that quote.

Rest is something I do way more than i really should. I don’t give one hundred percent effort every day, but when I do I always put my mental and physical health first.

This little space will be a place for me to talk about mental health, physical health, and anything else I feel like writing about when I’m having my own down time.

Since starting university, I’ve come to realise that I totally misunderstood the difference between letting yourself rest and letting yourself be lazy. I used to use a night in bed watching Netflix and eating junk as an excuse that I needed to rest my body and mind.

Shutting off from problems and responsibilities is LAZY and probably my worst habit. However, taking time out of my day to read a book, make a to do list for my week, or catch up with a friend over coffee is a way to rest. I’m using my time to allow my mind and body to take a break for a bit, and not over working them. That, I have come to find, is how to truly make myself rest.

I’ve grown up in a time where the stigma around mental health is slowly but surely being lifted. It’s an amazing thing to witness, and I feel lucky to not have grown up in the era where the loony bin was the only option for anyone struggling.

I am an open book when it comes to discussing my experience with depression and anxiety, as I believe that is the only way to stop it from taking over your life. The longer you keep it a secret, the more it will consume you.

So, it may not be easy to read sometimes, and it might not be something you agree with, but this Rest section will be a place to reflect on emotions, events, and a forum for discussing things that aren’t so easy. But, once they’re off my chest, I know I can rest and slow the cogs in my head down for some down time.