The Subtle Art Of Not Giving A F*ck

Reading is one of those activities that builds empathy, expands your imagination, allows you to see things from a different perspective and gives you space to learn and go on adventures all in your mind. Some of the greatest ideas that pop up are when I’m reading or engaging in a DMC with friends. As I was conversing with my lovely friend, we talked about how everyone cares about something. We all do it, but it’s also easy to hide it. The truth is, everyone is so concerned with themselves and their lives, that most people don’t care about you as much as you think. It’s a harsh truth, but it’s also incredibly refreshing. The Subtle Art of not giving a F*ck by Mark Manson was fun to read. It was one of those books I couldn’t put down, and binged read in two days. No matter what, people will judge regardless of if you’re happy in your life.

One of the things I loved that Manson mentions, is The Backwards Law. Manson says in his book “’The backwards law’ [is] the idea that the more you pursue feeling better all the time, the less satisfied you become, as pursuing something only reinforces the fact that you lack it in the first place. The more you desperately want to be rich, the more poor and unworthy you feel, regardless of how much money you actually make. The more you desperately want to be sexy and desired, the uglier you come to see yourself, regardless of your actual physical appearance. The more you desperately want to be happy and loved, the lonelier and more afraid you become, regardless of those who surround you. The more you want to be spiritually enlightened, the more self-centered and shallow you become in trying to get there.”

He suggests that by accepting that you’re not doing well, it can be more rewarding then chasing a false sense of happiness. It makes me think about the stigma of mental health, and how so many of us pretend to be fine, which can actually cause those emotions to sink deeper. It also makes me think of how growing up being constantly called nice, there are times where I can care too much in being nice to others. We have to think about the values we have. Those are what we should give a f*ck about and spend time caring about in our lives. Spend your time doing things that matter to you. We can waste a lot of time worrying about things that we might not have any control over, thinking about something in the past or future or caring too much about what others think in certain areas of our lives.

One reality hit is to remind myself that I could die any day. Then it puts things into perspective. It’s that combination of humour and reality that reminds us that there are so many things that we don’t need to take too seriously. There is so much dissatisfaction when we are constantly chasing happiness, because then there is always this feeling that we’re lacking something in our lives. Happiness isn’t a destination. It also takes us away from being in the present, accepting what is and truly living in the moment. The people we give our time to, our personal values and the things we do during our time are what we give our f*cks to. One of the most freeing feelings is letting go of caring what others think, even if it’s just a little.

Reading the book also made me think about the book The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle. It’s one of my all-time favourite book. When we stop caring so much about what happened in the past or what will happen in the future, we can be content and enjoy the present moment. We all experience failures, set backs and disappointments. Manson is emphasising in the book how caring less can actually lead to more happiness. I’m someone that can care too much about others. I consider myself an empath, and I feel really deeply for others, but sometimes we have to find a healthy balance. True happiness is like a slow burning fire. “Most people chase highs,” Manson explains. “Highs make you feel good. They sound fun. They impress people. Happiness is harder. Happiness requires struggle and boredom and sacrifice. Real happiness comes from discovering a sense of importance in one’s actions and in one’s life.”

Photography by Sun Jun

3 comments

  1. Mabel Kwong

    I haven’t read Mark Manson’s book, but I’ve definitely seen it front and center of book shops. He does make a great point in that if we keep chasing something, that might not necessarily bring us happiness. Highs can be intense but may just a last a moment. For instance, you might splurge a lot for a good night out every weekend but that could be a night we might not remember. I’d much rather have many quiet weekends in doing quiet things such as reading which might seem uneventful – but really speak to me.

    • Katie Kuo

      Thanks for your thoughts Mabel, it’s so true that highs can be intense, but just be a temporary moment. I highly recommend it! It’s such a great read, and really important reminders :) I can really relate to that, sometimes the best weekends are the ones filled with thoughtful conversations, quiet time, a good book and spending time with loved ones!

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