A couple of weeks ago, I read this brilliant post by my friend Rhianna, about some of the things she was choosing to care less about in 2018. It really resonated me, not just because it was brilliantly written, but because I have always been a person who cares too much.
Where my friends and my family and my work are concerned, I am proud of how much I care. But there are also some things in my life that I have wasted swathes of time caring about for all the wrong reasons.
And so, just like Rhianna, I am trying to care less, or even not at all, about some things. It’s not an easy fix, for caring too much is a habit that comes so naturally to me. But it’s something I’m working on and getting better at.
Today, I thought I’d share with you some things I no longer care about. I’d love to hear if there are things you’re trying to care less about too…
Being a size 10
I have spent the best part of 15 years on a diet. This might come as a surprise to some of you, as I have never been overweight or above the average size, but I have spent more than half of my life worrying that I’m too fat or too curvy or that I have too much cellulite.
Those worries have led me to try many diets and the outcome I strived for was always the same – fit into the size 10 jeans. I would fast or cut calories or count “syns”, all in the hope of one day being able to walk into Topshop and confidently pick up a pair of size 10s without even trying them on.
And then in 2016, tragedy struck our family, and I had that horrible realisation that life really is too short. It’s not just a clichéd thing that people say for the fun of it, but a terrifying reality that none of us know how much time we have, and realising that forced me to re-evaluate a lot of things.
Food brings me enjoyment, and sweating it out in a gym absolutely doesn’t. Some of my happiest memories are of sharing food with family, or indulging in the local cuisine on holiday, and I realised that I didn’t want to give those things up for the label inside a pair of jeans.
I made a decision to dedicate all that energy I previously gave to caring about diets and weight loss into building my business and career. I spent the evenings I would have been at the gym doing something I love instead, and whaddya know, I’m 100% happier for it.
What other people think about how I spend my money
I have always been a worrier where money is concerned. No matter how much I earn or spend or save, I always worry that I’m doing the wrong thing and that other people are judging me for how I choose to spend my money.
I don’t really know where these insecurities stem from – I’ve had a job since I was 13 and I’ve never had to rely on other people to help me pay my way. I’m not the most sensible when it comes to saving and investments, but I’ve also never spent wildly outside of my means.
I spent a lot of my 20s worrying about what other people thought about how I spent my money. I’d feel guilty if I chose to book a holiday when all my friends were saving for things I deemed more “important”, and I had a lot of mixed emotions about the amount of money we spent on our wedding.
But a couple of months ago I had a realisation: I work damn hard and I’m a grown woman. I can spend my money any which way I please, so long as I’m not harming anybody else. If I choose to go on five holidays a year rather than saving every single penny, then that’s just fine, and I don’t have to justify my decisions to anyone.
So long as I can pay my bills and take care of myself and my little family, the decision on how to spend my money is all mine. And if I want to spend it in the way that brings me the most joy, then I need to stop caring about what other people think about that.
Making everybody like me
I am a grade A people pleaser and I have spent pretty much my entire life worrying that people don’t like me. As a result, I’m probably the least confrontational person I know – I struggle to tell anybody if they’ve upset me, and I can’t even complain in a restaurant without wanting the ground to swallow me up.
Most of the decisions I made during my adolescence and early 20s were based on what I thought would make people like me more. I’d go out with friends even if I fancied a night in because I didn’t want to upset them, and I’d keep quiet in meetings because I didn’t want to come across as gobby or obnoxious.
I was forever contorting myself into a version of me that I thought would be most appealing to other people, and as a result, I was never really being myself. It was only one day when an old manager asked me if I would rather be liked or respected that I realise I needed to change.
Trying to make people like you is a hard habit to get out of, especially in a social media age when we’re taught that being likeable is the desired state. But when you realise that you really have stopped caring about whether people like you or not, it’s the most freeing thing in the world.
It’s allowed me to be my most authentic self, and that in turn has allowed me to be a better employee, a better friend and a much, much happier person.
This essay first appeared in my newsletter, The Weekly Pep Talk. If you’d like to receive a weekly dose of positivity and inspiration in your inbox every Sunday, you can sign up here.