I am not a fan of self-help books, because most of them are full of shit.
Same goes for many of the self-help articles flooding our social media feeds on a regular basis. They try to tell us how they live our lives, usually by dictating what’s great and what’s not, and later on, make us realize that our lives suck and so we have to make the shift. Then we feel smaller; we think our lives don’t matter, and that we’re doing things the wrong way. We feel lost all of a sudden, and so we make ourselves believe that we need guidance.
From whom? Well, from the gods we see on social media! See how lovely their feeds are? Wow! Let’s be like them! Let’s dress the way they do, eat only the food they consume, and have the same principles they have. Don’t forget to love the way they do, too! Only the kind of relationships these gods have matter. The rest, shit! This is the only way to attain happiness. And we deserve to be happy all the time, right? The world and everybody in it owe us, hooray! We have the right to demand anything that could make us feel good from anyone, even if that means we have to be assholes.
And we forget about our own goals, especially if they aren’t that cool according to our Facebook friends. Why pursue something that’s not #LitAF in the first place? Why the hell waste your time fighting for something that will only make you feel bad or broken? Go for whatever makes you feel good, baby!
No wonder, when I first heard this book by Mark Manson, I was so skeptical at first. I was thinking that it might just be another self-help shit pretending to be “unique” when in fact it isn’t. But still, I gave it a try. Trust the cover and the title, I told myself. And I made the right choice, I guess.
The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck basically talks about the importance of choosing our own battles. In this world where we’ll never run out of things to care about, it’s just so easy to give a fuck about everything–even the things that don’t mean anything to us. And in result, we are drained. We are annoyed by things that don’t really add value to our lives. Time and energy wasted.
It offers insights on how one could focus on things they think matter the most, including how to live one’s life according to their chosen values. Give a fuck only about the things you truly care about, it proclaims.
This book also discusses the role pain plays in our lives and how normal it actually is to feel it. It proposes that in order to survive, you have to not give a fuck about it. Just go ahead and do whatever that needs to be done, even if you know it’s going to hurt. It won’t be that bad, anyway, as long as the suffering will come from something you’ve chosen for yourself.
Pain is an inextricable thread in the fabric of life, and to tear it out is not only impossible, but destructive: attempting to tear it out unravels everything else with it. To try to avoid pain is to give too many fucks about pain. In contrast, if you’re able to not give a fuck about the pain, you become unstoppable.
However, I have to admit that there are parts in this book that sound too didactic and even repetitive. Sometimes I think the persona himself gets drowned with his own cool experiences, which kind of contradicts the point he’s trying to make. And I’m sure he’s aware of this flaw, too. Or maybe he doesn’t give a fuck about it.
Generally, it’s worth the time. It’s not perfect, but it’s still better than crappy recipes to finding eternal happiness and all other bullshit out there. It has the honesty that most of the so-called life coaches and gurus whatever aren’t capable of giving.