So after laying down a few statements that should make you realize that the ‘art of not giving a damn’ is a great way of life, there are a couple of things you can do to start acting now.
What do you have to do? Get your self-respect back.
There is no way for you to succeed in anything you do unless you have respect for yourself. Now, do not get me wrong, this does not mean that you have to consider yourself as the owner of the world, neither does it mean that you shall now become an asshole towards all the people in your ‘society’. No. This basically means that you will appreciate yourself and your efforts, and you will think of yourself as a person who is actually enjoying what you do, regardless the rest of the society. There are a few things you have to do to get your self-respect back, in other words, you will need to follow some steps.
STEP 1: Do something you consider very embarrassing.
I was invited to the south of Italy last week, and while I was walking through some shops in a mall, I found a place where they sold all kinds of funny stuff, and there I found this ‘horn’ that basically makes fart sounds when you press a button, I had seen a video on youtube from a guy who had done some pranks. I found it so funny. Of course, I had to have it. After I bought it, I started walking through a little shop and when I saw that there were people walking next to me, I pressed the button. In the end, people were avoiding me because they thought I was farting the entire shop, and it was hilarious hearing them talk to each other silently in Italian. Finally the shopkeeper told me (in a very strong Italian accent) to get out of the store. Most will (rightfully) consider this an unnecessary childish behaviour on my behalf, but I don’t care, because for me it was so entertaining, I found it hilarious.
In the beginning of this post I made clear that I am very aware of other people’s judgement towards others. But as the Italian shopkeeper was kicking me out of his shop, not a single person looked at me. Nobody cared, and I suddenly realized that even if some people did look at me weird, they just walked by and didn’t look anymore. Tomorrow, or in a week, they would forget about me completely.
You must try this, believe me, and laugh at yourself for a change. Find something that you want to do but never did because you were too embarrassed. And when you do this, notice how society just adapts to you, you don’t adapt to them, they will adapt to you, I swear!
STEP 2. Social Awkwardness
Have you ever noticed how interviewers get the juiciest details out of celebrities or politicians when they create these awkward silences? Yes, these people are geniuses.
You may be uncomfortable with silences. I personally hate awkward silences. But I realized that dealing with an awkward silence is much better than just ramble about stuff you don’t even want to say, just to fill up a space of awkwardness. So when you are talking to the Muslim girl in your tutorial, don’t ask her if she sleeps with the burqa on (fun fact: it happened to me). Sometimes you have to shut up if you have nothing productive to say.
This is not the only kind of social awkwardness, there is this other type where you might have done or said something wrong (in class, for example, or in a party, or a meeting) or been wronged, but you decide to not say anything. You have to realize that the liberty that comes from talking about an uncomfortable situation is much better than avoiding to talk at all. If you DO have something to say, say it.
STEP 3. Speak truthfully.
This step is actually something I got out of one of Joep’s last posts on radical honesty, as Joep said, this is not about insulting people, but about speaking your mind.
The fact that you don’t give a damn does not mean that you need to be an asshole, but believe me, there are too many conflict-avoidant people in this world who just tend to evade everything that comes across their faces, and you do not want to be one of them. You know that no one likes someone who does not stand for his thoughts, especially in a University environment, where every single person here seems to have an opinion about everything, even if they know about the subject or not (I had some Turkish guy telling me he was a fan of Hugo Chavez because gasoline is cheap in Venezuela, WTF?). As I told you before, the society around you will be fine without you anyways, so if you want to point out something, do it.
When I say that you must speak the ‘truth’, I mean the real deal, the whole package of truthfulness. So do not try to think that you are speaking truthfully if you are actually adding you own layer of sugar-coat on top of your statements. You will feel much better with this, because you will feel like you have nothing to hide, and I personally find that a good thing.
STEP 4. Start living a new life.
The thing about this last step is that it cannot happen without the others. Once you get to this step, feel free to do whatever you want in your brand new world where anything you do is okay (as long as you are not actually seriously hurting other people’s feelings). Do you want to be part of the group of students who decided to break into old Maastricht buildings in order to support their cause? Do it, as long as you don’t care about any consequences that may affect you afterwards. Are you into SM and you feel like getting whipped by a dominatrix? Go ahead, just do it; it’s your own problem anyways. But be safe about it. Do you have any substantial criticism towards your Faculty? Towards a teacher? Towards PBL? Arrange a meeting with a faculty superior and tell them what you think.
After a while of living like this, you get used to living a life where not giving a damn is actually better, and you realize that everyone else gets used to you, and those who don’t, will push you out of their lives anyway. In fact, it can even make you interesting and worth paying attention to, thus, if you have any plans of world domination (mwahahaha) this is a step forward.
Take back your self-respect, be respected by others, stand for your own beliefs and respect other people’s habits. Don’t be a judgemental prick/bitch. Make a change today. Wear something ugly, go to your tutorial in your pyjamas. Do something stupid. Tell someone the truth.
It doesn’t matter. Believe me.
I am Nathalie, I was born and raised in a tiny island in the coast of Venezuela named Isla Margarita, a lovely place. I am studying European Law, and I love it. I came to Europe 1 year ago, and I am still managing to adapt to the European culture without losing my Latin-American essence. I am a big fan of the United Nations and I dedicate my free time in working and participating in MUNs and International-related projects. I also love photography, writing, and going out. Maastricht is my new "home away from home" and I am starting to like it very much (besides the weather, of course!).