I’ve never been ashamed to admit I care a lot about what people think. I care what you think. I read all the comments, messages, tweets. I really care, but it doesn’t haunt me. Being on the internet in a public way since age 14, I have learned how to filter out hatred from ever penetrating too deeply. I started a YouTube channel at the height of my own awkward stage in life, so I grew pretty numb to any personal attacks. I learned to let it go, and understand it’s natural that not everyone will like me, think I’m funny, agree with what I say, etc. But that doesn’t mean I don’t still care. I do care. And the thing is, I think we all care but we are so afraid to say it. We think it’s a sign of weakness, but this is so far from the truth. Caring about others is the ultimate strength.
We think if we claim to not care it somehow magically transforms us into these superhuman invincible beings. If you don’t care about something, it will be powerless to hurt you. Nothing can hurt because you have wasted zero time investing in it. But the reality is every person who has shouted, “Whatevs. HATERS GONNA HATE!” (Yeah, T-Swift included) is reacting to something that stung them. Someone said something that shot a slingshot into their carefully protected ego.
But they will convince you otherwise. They’re fine. Everything is fine. But if you really, truly didn’t care, you wouldn’t need to vocalize it. You’d just continue going on with life, not caring. But who wants that kind of life? I sure as hell don’t.
Caring about what people think is a crucial part of leading a compassionate life. It’s the simple “thank you” when someone hands you your Starbucks cup. It’s going the extra-mile for a friend because it might brighten their day. It’s thinking before you speak, not because you are expected to be a certain way, but because you care about how another person could perceive your words. We are imperfect people, and we always will be. But when we make an effort to think of others and how our actions could affect them, we make strides towards being better people. When we care, we become better.
I used to constantly say to people, “I give 3 and a half fucks.” Mostly because I’m under this false impression that I’m clever and I crack myself up ten times more than I ever make anyone else laugh. But also because I DO give a fuck. I give tons! Is that lame? Maybe, but it’s who I am. And most importantly, it’s who I want to be.
I’ve noticed it’s become this trend to live a “I Don’t Give A Fuck” lifestyle. I think that’s problematic. We live in a society. You know, with other people. Other feeling, thinking people. And we should give a fuck about each other. I give a fuck about you. I’m not saying you, internet stranger, are the most important thought to ever cross my mind, but I care.
When we stop pretending this apathetic attitude somehow makes us cooler and in control will be when we start being honest with one another. We lower the defense mechanisms. We risk looking foolish. But you know what? That’s good. Living an authentic life does mean taking a chance that someone else will hurt you. Maybe someone will not reciprocate how much you care. But when you let people know you care, that’s when you really become something special. That’s when you will find yourself immersed in the best, and sometimes painful, truest moments of the human experience. We’re all here together, so let’s be real with each other. Let’s stop worrying we’ll be branded as a Hallmark card and instead, let’s just start admitting we care.