As women, we often feel the need to take on the world: to solve everyone’s problems, to complete all tasks, to “feed and water” those around us, to care about what others think, to provide emotional support and coaching on a whim, and to feel guilty when we haven’t perfected our family, our work, our house, our looks, our lives.
But, as middle-aged women, part of feeling comfortable in our own skin is having the peace, ability, and grace to not absorb the judgement or guilt of what others think about us, or what others project onto us in our day to day lives. This is part of knowing we have arrived, and being truly confident in our own skin. Know what I mean?
Remember the term “what Suzy says of Sally says more about Suzy than it does Sally”?
As a born worrier, too often I’ve let myself get consumed with “giving a f**k” – a term that has become commonplace these days. Yes, I’ve let someone down before, rescheduled a dinner date, or heard thirdhand feedback about someone who doesn’t like me, my choices, my outfits, my actions, and so on – this can be summed up as caring about what other people think. But sometimes, deeply internalizing what others think about us and our choices is just not warranted. And it is an absolute privilege and freedom to finally reach the stage where we can say “I don’t give a f**k”. Not because we disrespect what others think; but because we don’t need to care.
Sure, it’s got a degree of vulgarity, but doesn’t it feel good to say, “I don’t give a f**k”? We can’t make everyone happy nor were we put on this earth to do so. We are not Walmart, and we can’t be all things to all people.
Being an authentic, middle-aged woman means living our best lives (as Oprah says) with vigour, with passion, and with conviction and grace. That means we can’t invest time worrying about all other opinions on our existence and choices. This can be tough both professionally and personally, but one of the most powerful and beneficial things we can do for ourselves is to be decisive – just make the decision, own it and move on. Sure, it may not be the best or the right one, but that’s what learning is for. And, at this age we are introspective enough to know how to reflect and learn – worrying about gossip or negative comments or opinions is not going to benefit our existence. There’s far too much good in our lives to be focused on the bad.
Think about it: we’ve been given the lottery with our lives. We have opportunity, education, safety, healthcare, food, friends, the ability to travel and explore, and so on. We have the choice to embrace being a woman, to be equal in our societies, to vote, and to thrive. To thrive as women.
So let’s keep it in perspective: life is good, we can’t make everyone happy, and that’s okay. In fact, sometimes, it’s better to “give zero f**ks” and you’re better off (and have greater peace of mind) for it. Why? Because living with confidence and authenticity is a beautiful thing. And, because we “f**king” can!
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Photos: Michael Zaporzan