Care Deeply AND Don’t Give a Fu%k

Hello fellow Badasses.

Welcome to week one and the introduction to the “Your Inner Badass” Blog.  


I was in my 1st year of my work as a mental health therapist and I was getting my do-gooder ass kicked.  I knew I wanted to specialize in trauma recovery; people have often felt safe enough to tell me their stories of abuse, neglect, revenge and I was honored to hear them.  After all, we cannot know our light without knowing our darkness and I feel called to sit in the darkness with people when they are there.  But this. This was too much. I had a client that was so entrenched in the cycle of poverty, domestic violence issues, health issues, employment issues, custody issues with said ex, insurance issues, and at the center of it was this powerless little child. I dreamt about it, obsessed about how I could help her.   I couldn’t handle it. Thank goodness for supervision.  Now- I am a queer, left-leaning, feminist bleeding heart- you know- your typical therapist.  My supervisor, however, was an evangelical Christian (but not the gay-hating kind) and had voted for GW Bush and thank whatever higher power I went to see her because she said these words that have been my mantra ever since.  Something about these magical words coming from the lips of an evangelical Christian, who had heard them from her pastor, who, according to her, heard them from a Buddhist monk, who heard them from a Native American elder, something about this lineage gave them validity, gave them permission. I would tattoo them on each arm respectively if I wasn’t in the PTA and here they are:


Aren’t they lovely?
The AND is very important. Notice that it is not “but.” This is very intentional.  If it were to say “Care deeply, but don’t give a fuck,” that would negate the whole “care deeply” part and the scales would tip way over to the side of “not giving a fuck.” Your impact on the world would become quite a negative one.  It might be said that people would at least perceive you as being a self-indulgent asshole living a philosophy like that- No- just not giving a fuck won’t do.  If the sentence said, “don’t give a fuck, but care deeply” it would be this passive aggressive suggestion that you’re supposed to not care what people think about you, but you really better say yes to everything and everybody if you have any chance of ever being liked again.  No- this sentence is very different. CARE DEEPLY AND DON’T GIVE A FUCK.  

 Breaking it down further: Care deeply- meaning have deep compassion, LOVE people with reckless abandon, practice random acts of kindness, take care of yourself (caring deeply about and having true compassion towards ourselves in a real way is one of the hardest practices I find), cry at sad movies, hug and LOVE your kids like your heart is going to break, have profession goals, follow your passions, advocate for what is just and right and fair, have integrity, give AND receive freely (this is also a tough one) and all that other stuff that fills our life up.

Now- let’s look at some things that may fall in the category of “Don’t give a fuck”- setting boundaries, saying no to things when you need to, saying “hell no and fuck off” when you need to, (although- after reading this book, it might sound more like “hell no and fuck off with love and light,”  saying “fuck you” to society’s shame messages about our bodies or being perfect (Whoop whoop Brene’ Brown), Not giving a shit what other people think unless they have earned your care about their opinion, being authentic, not trying to fix other people, recognizing that people have the right to stay in pain if they want to, not being co-dependent, not attaching our worth to the outcome of our achievements, not attaching our worth or our lovability to other people, not attaching our spiritual selves to a book or an institution.

The fancy word for this type of thinking is “dialectic.” It is the belief that things that seem to be opposites can both exist and be true at the same time.  You might ask, “If I am going to care deeply, how can I also not give a fuck?”  This blog is about walking that magical line where these two opposite forces intersect and meet and can exist simultaneously.  Perhaps more than straight answers, we will explore and ask questions like: “How can we have healthy and good attachments in relationships AND not fall into being co-dependent?” “How can we love our children deeply and unconditionally AND not rescue them from struggle or try to fix them?”  “How can I have personal and professional goals AND not attach my worth as a human being to the outcome of those goals?”  “How can I take responsibility for my impact on others AND not care too much what they think about me?” “How can I have compassion for my fellow humans AND not absorb too much of their negativity?” “How can I own any social privileges that I have and advocate for social justice AND still create a life worth living for myself and my family, knowing that I cannot save the world or carry it on my shoulders?” Whew those are some big questions.  I suppose I am going to take a moment to say my mantra….

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