There’s a popular meme going around the interwebs that advises us not to worry what people say or think about us. “Don’t give a F***!” While I understand that the gist of this message is aimed at people suffering through low self-esteem and people-pleasing problems, the advice is too global to be good advice.
First of all, the F-word, is overused these days and is cringe-worthy. Use of the expletive only displays a crude, thoughtless mindset. Second of all, people who do not have self-esteem issues nor people-pleasing behavior are taking this meme as permission to talk and act in rude, often destructive ways.
There is a demographic in the public who might read the two preceding paragraphs who will automatically dismiss the message. They might say, “I don’t give a F*** about that.”
I really do understand the power of disregarding the negative opinions of people who want to hurt us or hold us back. During my formative years, I allowed beliefs about other people’s beliefs to hold me back from expressing my true self. This was harmful and required a lot of personal growth work to bring about some semblance of balance in my life.
There is also the positive notion that it is good to think about the feelings of other people. Humility and gratitude are very virtuous personal qualities that bring us cooperation, success, and harmony. There are many things that are very good about contributing to the well-being of society and treating others with respect. There is much to be said about being careful not to live one’s life according to crude Internet memes. To not give a F***, is to live a thoughtless life.
Not caring at all enables terrible behavior and unskillful speech. Not caring at all leads to self-centered, harmful beliefs and social instability. The uncaring attitude leads to irrational behavior and enabling nasty politicians. All of this influences public cynicism and distrust at all levels. If we all simply didn’t give a F***, civilization would quickly dissolve.
Again, balance is the key.
People who are recovering from low self-esteem and/or are working to offset people-pleasing behavior do need to focus on their own dreams and aspirations. They do need to disregard the opinions of manipulative people and control freaks. It is still necessary for them to not go overboard and become thoughtless towards others. There needs to be healthy give and take in order to build strength while maintaining integrity.
Certainly, it is good to ignore the cynics and negative people and follow our own positive, beautiful dreams. Doing this develops constructive, strong self-confidence. At the same time, this confidence is manifested in thoughtfulness and consideration towards others.
When we maintain a positive focus on life and have wholesome self-confidence we can stay on the path of attaining a good life for ourselves without harming others. Thoughtless behavior ultimately hinders us. Thoughtfulness ultimately builds us up.