15 Things To Stop Caring About And Make Your Life Infinitely Better In The Process, According to Reddit

As unpleasant as stress is, sometimes it can be useful — it can keep us on our toes, inspire us to work our hardest, and more. But a lot of the time, stressing about so many things doesn't actually improve our lives; in fact, it actually can make them worse instead. So let me ask you a question: Is there at least one thing that, if you stopped caring about it, would change your life for the better? I'm guessing there is — even if you haven't identified it yet.

A Redditor going by the name marydillpickle posted a topic in the AskReddit sub last night geared towards answering this very question. The responses are wide and varied, and obviously not all of them will be applicable for everyone — but each and every one of them is still worth consideration. I'm sure it's a topic that hits home for a lot of people; I know it did for me.

I suffered a lot of anxiety for a few years that stemmed from feeling like I wasn't doing what everyone had always thought I was going to do with my life. It's not that I was feeling the pressure from those around me, though; it was all pretty much entirely self-imposed. It's all very well to shoot for the stars, and I've always been a high achiever — but I had to learn that when we raise the bar for ourselves a little too high, we often suffer adverse effects. Letting go of the standards to which we've always held ourselves is a process, and it's one that I'm not quite through with yet; sometimes I still wake up in the middle of the night with anxiety attacks. Over time, though, they began to lessen in intensity and come less frequently — and generally, I'm happier for it.

Of course, letting something go is often easier said than done. It takes work, and it's not going to happen overnight. But since pinpointing exactly what it is that's causing you so much anxiety, here's a good place to start: 15 of what I think are some of the most valuable responses. Head on over to AskReddit to see the whole thread — it might just help you out a little bit.

1. The Number of Friends You Have

Research supports the idea that quality over quantity is a benefit when it comes to our friend situation.

2. “Doing Something Important”

Another Redditor elaborated on why this one is worth noting:

3. Negativity Towards Others

Excellent point about trolls there.

...Just not that kind of troll.

4. “Milestones”

The reason I always put “milestones” in quotation marks is exactly this: They're totally arbitrary. Just because one generation was married with kids and had a house in the suburbs with a white picket fence by the time they were 25 doesn't mean that the next generation has to — or even should — live their lives the same way. Heck, just because one person is married with kids and has a house in the suburbs with a white picket fence by the time they're 25 doesn't anyone else needs to follow that same path. A lot of thinkpieces have been written about the negative aspects of “you do you,” but I think there's some positivity to be found in the saying, too — and this is why. To me, "you do you" means acknowledging that what works for one person won't work for another — and, perhaps more importantly, understanding that that's perfectly fine.

5. What Other People Think About You

The exchange that followed this comment illustrates the point perfectly:

Just, y'know… don't use “I don't care what other people think” as an excuse to be an asshole. Being courteous has nothing do with caring what others think — it's about the third item on this list: Letting go of needless negativity.

6. What Your Parents Think Of You

Especially once you're a grownup in your own right. Relationships between parents and their children by necessity have to change once those children are adults, although sometimes not everyone accepts that fact. Need help on how to deal with a parent who won't treat you like the adult that now you are? Check out Captain Awkward. Much usefulness abounds there, and a lot of it is geared towards setting boundaries for people who otherwise might not be terrible receptive to them. Because if you've moved out of your parents' house, financially support yourself, and are mostly a fully-functioning adult, it doesn't really matter whether your parents like your new haircut, or your choice of living quarters, or whatever. They don't get a say in it anymore.

7. Things

Things can be nice, but there's no need to keep up with the Joneses or whatever. Really. I promise.

8. Feeling Ashamed About Things You Definitely Don't Have To Be Ashamed About

This. A thousand times this.

9. Sweating the Small Stuff

Focusing on your pet peeves ensures you go through life feeling mildly annoyed all the time. It's so much more fun not to be irritated constantly.

10. Cultivating Relationships You Don't Actually Want

To be fair, it's usually worth giving people a shot first — maybe that person who lives next door is your next best friend waiting to happen. But if you decide you don't actually want to be friends with someone? Then you don't have to be. It's that whole “quality, not quantity” thing in action.

11. Worrying About Things That Haven't Happened Yet

Sometimes it's a good idea to strategize for the future — but don't let it stop you from experiencing what's going on in your life right this very minute. You can't plan for everything, and that's A-OK.

12. Judging Yourself

We're our own worst critics most of the time. We don't have to be, though. Treat yourself kindly — you deserve it. Everyone deserves it.

No, Lucille. None of that, now.

13. Wanting to Get Along With Everyone and Wanting Everyone to Get Along With You

Our default setting as humans often seems like it's to be liked; the bottom line is, though, that not everyone is going to like everyone else. It's fine if you don't get along with someone, and it's fine if they don't get along with you. Go your separate ways, and all will be well.

14. Feeling Like You Need to Be Someone You're Not

Not a people person? Cool. You don't have to make yourself into one if you don't want to. Love being around people? Also cool. No need to retreat to solitude if you don't want to.

15. Things That Happened in the Past

We all make mistakes; it's part of being a human. We can't change the mistakes we made in the past, though — all we can do is try to learn from them and move on.

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