Yes, actually it is. It's true--nobody cares about you. And if that's what you suspect during your moodier days, then, congratulations, you're right!
So you're saying no one cares about me?
Yes, that's what I'm saying. You are alone in this world. So give in to to the unhappiness, the feelings of self worthlessness, the doldrums of depression. Soak it all up and wallow in it, buddy!
Wow--Way to make a person feel better, Cheryl. Jeez.
Okay, so I wasn't serious about that last part. I don't want you to get depressed about the fact that no one cares about you.
Well, you sounded pretty serious to me. That was mean.
Besides, it's not true that no one cares about me. My mom cares about me! And my family cares about me! And so do my friends, so there! You're wrong, meanie pants!
Oh, so someone does care about you. In fact, several someones care about you. Yeah, you're right. When I say that no one cares about you, it is a bit of hyperbole (you know, that fancy literary term for exaggeration). The truth is that some people do care about you. Think about how many "friends" you have on Facebook. Let's be generous and say that not only do your family and friends care about you but that many acquaintances care about you too. Let's say that as many as 1000 people care very deeply about you and say a little prayer every day that you will have a super-fantastic, awesomely superlative day!
Okay, yeah, let's say that. 1000 people. Well, that may be a bit too many. I mean, I don't even have that many "friends" on Facebook.
Doesn't matter. I'm just putting a big number out there. So you think, then, that 1000 people is a big number of people to care about you, right?
Yeah, it sounds pretty nice.
Good. But let's compare that to the number of people on the planet. There are approximately 7 billion people on the planet, and by the time you read this post, there could be as many as 9 billion people alive on Earth. So if 1000 of those people care deeply about you, then that means approximately one out of every 7 million people on Earth cares about you, or approximately 0.0000001% of the total human population, a statistically insignificant number.*
Go out there and embrace your vulnerability, your
ridiculousness, your weirdness, the things that make you
special, the things that make you unique.
Okay, sourpuss, back to the bad news, then. Gee, thanks.
No, but don't forget about the second part of my title--"and that's a good thing." It's actually really great that so few people really care about you. It means you can make lots of mistakes and very few people will care about it. You can screw up big time, and the world will glance over you like you're a speck on the sidewalk.
Hmm...I see where you're going with this. So I can do all kinds of crazy things my teachers and my parents tell me not to do, and no one will even notice. Okay, then, bring out the drinking and driving, the cocaine by the bootful, the promiscuous behavior! Great! I'm on it!
Actually, I didn't mean to go that far because you have to remember that there are consequences to your behavior, you know, stuff like wrapping yourself around a tree, ending up in rehab or with the inside of your nose rotted out, getting pregnant or getting a disease that makes your insides rot--you know, the usual things.
So what you're saying is that there are not many people who care about me so I can do all kinds of things people tell me not to do, but I shouldn't do them because they're bad. You're bumming me out again, Cheryl! This seems to be a lose-lose situation. Where's the silver lining? Come on, I need a silver lining!
Right. There is a silver lining. And it's this: since very few people care about you or pay any attention to what you're doing, you have the freedom to be bold and take risks. Sing a song at the talent show. Apply to Harvard University. Wink and smile at that boy or girl you like. Take chances! Don't let your fears about what other people think stop you from doing what you want to do!
Yeah, but what if I screw up and make an idiot of myself? I mean, what if I forget the words on the stage and everyone laughs at me. What if Harvard rejects me? What if that person I like looks at me like I'm a mangy gerbil?
Well, all those things are possible. That's why they're risks. But here's the thing--just because other people might think you're a weirdo shouldn't stop you from doing the things you really want to do. Besides, people have short memories these days. There's a different "big" story of people humiliating themselves almost every week. Do you remember the kid who did that stupid thing earlier this year that no one would shut up about? Maybe his pants fell off during gym class or she farted really loudly during a speech? Well, you had probably forgotten about those incidents, and if that person was smart, he or she probably made a joke about it anyway.
After all, do you remember Tonya Harding? No? Never heard of her? Back in the 90's she was in the headlines for months when she was accused of having an assailant attack her rival ice skater, Nancy Kerrigan, before the Olympics. It was a huge story, but did you know about it? Probably not. And even if you did, it probably didn't make a big impression on you.
The point is that people forget about the missteps and the bloopers, the mistakes and the gaffes and humiliations. So don't let the chance of screwing up stop you. Don't wrap yourself in a cocoon of safety where nothing ever happens and you never accomplish anything. You might make yourself safe, but think what a boring life that would be.
Instead, go out there and embrace your vulnerability, your ridiculousness, your weirdness, the things that make you special, the things that make you unique. Be yourself, and carpe the heck out of the diem, my friend!
PS--Making mistakes is good for you. Don't believe me? Read these articles I found doing a simple Google search**:
7 Reasons Why Not Making Mistakes is the Biggest Mistake--This inspirational article offers seven reasons you should embrace mistakes.
Why Making Mistakes Is Good For You--This article is written for men but offers great insights to anyone, whether you're a man, woman, child, or bigender!
Why Failure is Good for Success--This article offers reasons why failure is good for both businesses and individuals.
Failure is Good--This article from Psychology Today looks at how failure is an innate part of the human condition.
Go out and do your own web search for more information. And remember--Fail, fail, fail, make as many mistakes as you reasonably can without killing or maiming yourself or someone else!
*If I got the math wrong, please leave a comment and let me know. When I tried this calculation on my calculator, I got a weird number ending in an e, whatever that means.
**If any of these links are broken (not working) by the time you get to this article, please leave a message in the comments. Thanks! :-)
Feeling better about your anonymity now that you've read this post? Feeling invisible enough to start a career as a top secret spy? (Just kidding.) If you liked this post, please share it with everyone in the whole wide world--click the buttons below to "like" or tweet it. Thanks, dude!