Business Musings: Nobody Cares

From Kristine Kathryn Rusch:

Nobody cares. Such a sad phrase, particularly when uttered by someone without friends or family. I recently read a marvelous short story that ended with that very concept, although not the phrase itself.

I’m not going to talk about that use of the phrase. Anything I say would be facile, because I don’t know your situation. And the phrase can mean that no one is close to you, or that the one special someone no longer is a part of your life. The solutions for all of those things are deeply personal, and I would hope that if you find yourself in that situation, you find some kind of help—whether it is a counselor or a trusted advisor or an organization that specializes in whatever it is that has caused you to feel alone.

I will also add that in various points in my life, I’ve been surrounded by a lot of people, and I’ve still felt like nobody cared. Sometimes I was wrong. Often, I had to face forward and deal with loss and grief. Occasionally, I had to seek professional help. In all of those cases, I got better, and so, over time, did my circumstances. I wish the best for you.

What I’m going to discuss with the phrase Nobody cares is a different usage of it. In my professional life and in certain endeavors, I have found that the phrase nobody cares is completely freeing.

I mentioned this to Dean, and he asked, “Didn’t I just write about that?” on his blog. So I went and checked, and yes, while he used the phrase, he mostly said that he didn’t care about the way others feel about his work.

It’s a similar concept, but not the same concept. If he doesn’t care about what other people think, that still assumes that they think something. Maybe they do, maybe they don’t. But the assumption is that “they” care. And for someone like me, who was raised by a judgmental perfectionist, the idea that “they” care can hang over everything that I do, if I let it.

Nobody cares works better for me. It’s a relatively new mantra in my life, in fact. When I first moved to Las Vegas, I set a new schedule, which included a yoga class at the gym on Mondays and Fridays. I had never done yoga, but I knew I needed a regular stretching routine, so I figured I would try it.

That first morning, before I left for class, I ran around like a nut, trying to get my stuff in order, trying to get my routine finished, caring for the cats, and scurrying so that I wouldn’t be late. And then, suddenly, I realized that the only person who cared if I was late was me.

No one else did. The gym didn’t. It didn’t have instructions that any tardy student would be locked out of the room. The instructor certainly didn’t. I later learned that she was late half the time herself.

. . . .

And that class is one of the physical highlights of my time here in Las Vegas so far. I had a blast. And I wouldn’t have, if I thought someone was judging me and thinking badly of me.

The courage nobody cares gives me doesn’t just apply to physical things. It applies to things that terrify me. I am embarking on a new project, which I don’t want to discuss in specific terms yet. I do that sometimes, not because I’m worried that someone will care, but because I loathe answering stupid questions, and this project seems to bring out the stupid question in damn near everyone.

Link to the rest at Kristine Kathryn Rusch

As a group, authors tend to be very thin-skinned, particularly about their writing. Performers and artists often have similar feelings.

Other professionals feel the same way about what they do to support themselves and their families. While some might want to think, “It’s just a paycheck” or “It’s just a royalty check,” the fact is that most people hope for success in any endeavor for which they spend a lot of time or money or effort or all three. That hope may be hidden under a hard and thick shell of sarcasm, who cares or something similar, but PG thinks for most people, it’s still there.

The kind of balance that Kris suggests with Nobody cares is one way of coping with fear of failure/rejection/bankruptcy/homelessness/insanity/ etc., etc., etc. The breadth and depth of human fears and insecurities is breathtakingly large. And that’s only the part that PG has discovered.

One particularly disabling fear is that you will try something and another person will hate/laugh/scorn what you have done. One of the names for this trait is People Pleasing.

From Psychology Today:

Over the years, I’ve seen countless people-pleasers in my therapy office. But more often than not, people-pleasing wasn’t really their problem; their desire to make others happy was merely a symptom of a deeper issue.

For many, the eagerness to please stems from self-worth issues. They hope that saying yes to everything asked of them will help them feel accepted and liked. Other people-pleasers have a history of maltreatment, and somewhere along the way, they decided that their best hope for better treatment was to try to please the people who mistreated them. Over time, for them, people-pleasing became a way of life.

Many people-pleasers confuse pleasing people with kindness. When discussing their reluctance to turn down someone’s request for a favor, they say things like, “I don’t want to be selfish,” or “I just want to be a good person.” Consequently, they allow others to take advantage of them.

. . . .

Here are 10 signs that you may be trying too hard to please everyone:

1. You pretend to agree with everyone.

Listening politely to other people’s opinions — even when you disagree — is a good social skill. But pretending to agree just because you want to be liked can cause you to engage in behavior that goes against your values.

2. You feel responsible for how other people feel.

It’s healthy to recognize how your behavior influences others. But thinking you have the power to make someone happy is a problem. It’s up to each individual to be in charge of their own emotions.

3. You apologize often.

Whether you excessively blame yourself, or you fear other people are always blaming you, frequent apologies can be a sign of a bigger problem. You don’t have to be sorry for being you.

. . . .

5. You can’t say no.

Whether you say yes and then actually follow through, or you later fake an illness to get out your commitments, you’ll never reach your goals if you can’t speak up for yourself.

6. You feel uncomfortable if someone is angry at you.

Just because someone is mad doesn’t necessarily mean you did anything wrong. But if you can’t stand the thought of someone being displeased with you, you’ll be more likely to compromise your values.

. . . .

8. You need praise to feel good.

While praise and kind words can make anyone feel good, people pleasers depend on validation. If your self-worth rests entirely on what others think about you, you’ll only feel good when others shower you with compliments.

Link to the rest at Psychology Today

Here’s a link to Kris Rusch’s books. If you like the thoughts Kris shares, you can show your appreciation by checking out her books.