Caring enough to fight--or not
Updated: Apr 12
Over the years, I’ve greatly enjoyed watching various video clips of author Brene’ Brown reading Teddy Roosevelt’s famous man in the arena quote. And I tend to agree with her when she talks about not being interested in the criticisms of people who refuse to “get into the ring.” Here’s what TR said.
"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat."
Lately, I’ve needed something a bit stronger. I don’t know if it’s because I’m losing my patience as I grow older, or if I’m running into a greater number of trying situations and people. Either way, the solution has been revisiting Sarah Knight and her concept of knowing when to not give a f*ck. [I highly recommend her Ted Talk on the subject.] If you’re a people pleaser, a highly sensitive person, or a recovering perfectionist (Yep, I’m all three) learning to let go of concern, what Knight so colorfully calls giving f*cks, is the key to maintaining your health and sanity. Here are some questions to consider:
· Does this event/person really matter to me?
· Is this critic “in the ring” too, or just snarking from the cheap seats?
· Am I going to enjoy spending my time, money, or energy on this?
· Are there other more important, useful, or enjoyable activities I could do instead?
· Will this matter in five days, five months, or five years?
When you want to make everyone happy, your commitments can quickly get out of hand. When you allow criticism to take root in your brain, doubt destroys your day. When you try to care about EVERYTHING, there’s no energy left for the important things. Some of us have to re-learn these lessons every so often.