Well, I have to withhold my British politeness somehow. But quite frankly, the Joneses and their opinions can take a long run off a short cliff.
This overly aggressive attitude has come about because of the absolute stupidity I found myself living in, for decades.
It's a reaction to an 'awakening'.
Almost in an instant, it suddenly dawned on me that this feeling of being inadequate – the one that gets you comparing yourself to others – is at the heart of all my troubles.
I never took the time to truly appreciate how much of my time was taken up with worrying about trivial BS, all connected to what other people are thinking.
Have you taken the time?
Have you considered how much of your worry is dedicated solely to keeping up with the Joneses?
How you look?
The clothes you wear?
The age of your car?
Your love handles?
The size of your house?
It's a scary amount of time.
Hey, who doesn't want to look nice, wear nice clothes, drive a nice car, have a flat stomach, live in a nice house and have a good job? We would rather have these things than not have them, right? But at what cost, and for why?
Do you buy things for comfort or conformity?
Are you dieting because a celeb suggested it – or has your doctor told you it would be good for your health?
Are you working yourself into an early grave or getting yourself into piles of consumer debt so you can buy things to impress others?
Have you considered why you do what you do?
No one wants to believe that they are beholden to what other people think, but there is little point in trying to cover up the fact that we care. There is no point in trying to cheat our very instincts or pretend we're not out to impress others.
Instead, let's become more aware of how caring too much cripples us – so we can do something about it.
'I DON'T CARE'
I tried the 'don't care' approach. I'm sure you have too.
I tried convincing myself that I don't care what other people think. But there was always this niggling little feeling contradicting what I was saying. There was this annoying little voice in my head telling me that I do care and that I'm a big, fat lier. And it was right.
I did watch what I said around other people. I was bothered about the age of my car. I did approach my clothes rail thinking which clothes would impress the best.
No matter how much I tried to convince myself that I didn't care, I did.
I figured out why.
I asked myself why I wouldn't go to the supermarket in just my undies, and why I wouldn't go and give a big burly bloke a sloppy kiss on the cheek. Yes, I want to keep my teeth. And yes, because on a cold day, the Y-front bulge might not be so flattering. But ultimately, it is because of this need for approval we've all got inbuilt in us.
We don't do these things because they don't meet the approval of others.
The need for approval from others is a very real thing. So real, if you let it, it will control your thoughts, your feelings and your life. You will become a slave to it. It will finish you off.
But what if I can get rich enough that I don't have to care anymore?
Money will sort out all my cares and worries, won't it?
Will it? Or will having more money with this mindset just compound the problem?
The Notorious B.I.G sums it up best: Mo money mo problems.
It pays to fix the mindset first, before trying to fix anything else. (Noses, jobs, cars, boobs, houses, love handles, clothes – all included.)
Plus, chasing after the money might finish you off well in advance of getting the admiration you crave. Like this need for approval, stress-induced illnesses and premature heart attacks are very real things.
'I CAN'T CARE'
When you say 'I can't care', it offers a very different mentality.
The 'can't care' mentality I developed in my book, You Care Too Much, suggests exactly that: if you care too much about what other people are thinking, it will destroy you, your health and your wellbeing. It will keep you trapped in absolute misery, chasing a status and a perfection that doesn't exist.
Therefore, ladies and gentlemen, the only solution to all this social anxiety nonsense is to 'can't care'.
When you can't care, it is literal. You can not afford to expend your precious time, money and energy on worrying about what everyone is thinking and allowing that worry to get in the way of the bit of happiness you struggle to find at the best of times.
No one is suggesting by can't caring that you develop a chip on your shoulder, resulting in you responding 'and what' to everything that is said to you. Although hilarious, chips on shoulders and bad attitudes aren't the way.
Let's all be nice while can't caring what others think.
You can be polite to the Joneses as well as not giving a fuck about what they think.
This is where the utopian mindset resides. It is absolute bliss.
If other people choose not to get educated and stay wrapped up in the shallowness and trivia, focusing on bullshit that doesn't make a difference today, tomorrow, or ever, that is up to them.
You, on the other hand, you get to live on your terms.