I don’t remember how I stumbled upon Sarah Knight and her literary works of art but I’m glad I did. All of her books I’ve read really are life-changing, even though that phrase is only used in the first title. At present, she has three books and I strongly recommend reading them in order as each book has a theme that ties into the previous book. The first of her amazing literary works of art is The Life-Changing Magic of NOT GIVING A F.
This book is all about prioritizing what you care about. Think about the way you interact with people on a daily basis, the conversations you engage in, the way you react to certain things. You may discover (or even already know) that you are often participating in things that you don’t want to because it’s what you should do. I mean this is how we were programmed to live life, right? Suck it up, be nice, do some things we don’t want to do because it’s what we should do. Sarah’s message is simple: Guess what? You don’t have to live this way.
I’ll give you an example. I don’t care about football. Other than the fact that people are boycotting the NFL because players are choosing to take a knee for good reasons, I have absolutely no interest in this sport. Watching a game on TV or even in person gives me zero satisfaction. When I walk into work and hear people talking about “that game last night,” I hit the snooze button in my mind. I’ve gone to several football games and watched several in my 20s. Why? Because it’s what my friends or significant other at the time were doing and I felt like I should too.
These days, if someone asks me if I want to go to the game or watch it on TV, I politely decline. When I hear people talking about football, I excuse myself from the conversation and find something else to do. I’m not being rude. I’m establishing a firm boundary with myself and others that this is something I just don’t have an interest in participating in. And that’s okay!
Make a list of things that you care about or really enjoy. A few of mine include my dogs, Fall, mafia documentaries, makeup, self-improvement, wine, and my family. (not necessarily in that order). Once you have that list, make another list of things you don’t really care about. This can be anything-such as going to baby showers, the latest political scandal, Brussel sprouts, etc. You get the point. For context, a few of mine are: vegan foods and anything have to do with veganism, counting calories, whiskey, hunting, other people’s opinions about how I live my life, and unsolicited advice. I took that list and put it into action. If someone says everyone in the office is going to try that new vegan place and I should go with them, it’s a hard pass for me. When I hear unsolicited advice spewing from people’s mouths, I hit “Play” in my head and hear whatever song has been stuck in my brain for the last 24 hours to drown this person out.
This book also helped me to be tolerant of other peoples f’s. Someone doesn’t want to discuss why one eyeliner is better than the other? Cool, it’s not their jam. Jane Smith likes to binge watch Storage Wars on the weekends? Awesome! Not my thing, but I can respect that you have your passions and I have mine. You do you. (More on that book later).
Engage in the behaviors/activities you want to and stop participating in those which do not bring you joy. This allows you to spend your time the way you want to and not the way others think you should. Be polite, yet firm. You’ll be amazed at how much happier you feel.