When Is It OK To Not Care?

A valuable lesson I learned in one of the weirdest ways.
Christi Hegstad October 13th, 2021

Years ago, I had the opportunity to talk on live television about my coaching work. I selected my outfit, a square-necked dress that I adored. At the last minute, I popped into a nearby store and purchased a simple, inexpensive necklace to complete the look. Voila – I was ready!

The interview was a blast. Afterwards, I thanked the hosts and crew, then hopped in my car to head to the office. I noticed my neck and upper chest area starting to itch, and a quick glance in the rear-view mirror showed a giant patch of splotchy redness all over my skin.

Turns out the cute little necklace I had purchased for the occasion contained nickel, to which I am allergic. This is not a dangerous allergy for me, more of an annoyance, and I knew (from way too much past experience) that the splotchiness would eventually disappear.

Later that afternoon, I watched a replay of the TV segment with some family members. And we also watched as, on screen, my neck and chest area slowly began turning red and splotchy throughout the interview! It was like watching the ripples spread from a pebble tossed into a pond, only much less soothing. :-) I could hardly believe what I was seeing.

And you know what I thought? Me – enneagram 3, Type A+, recovering perfectionist me?

“Who cares?!”

Past-me might have been mortified. Might have worried about who saw and what they thought. Might have cringed endlessly.

But this time? I really didn’t care. I shared solid content during the interview, offering practical tips that helped people. What I looked like, what my skin was doing as I spoke, was not what mattered most.

I care, deeply, about so much. I support causes that align with my values. I cry with others’ pain. I work daily to build a positive, purposeful world.

But I have to say, it felt good to not care about something so not-important in the grand scheme of things.

And even to chuckle about it!

But are there things holding you back that really aren’t that important, when it comes down to it?
Maybe it’s caring so much about doing something perfectly that it keeps you from even giving it a try.
Maybe it’s caring so much about how you compare to others that you lose sight of your own unique and incredible gifts.
Maybe it’s caring so much about the algorithm or how many people will ‘like’ your social media post that it prevents you from posting your meaningful content at all.
Most of us probably invest at least some of our time and energy fretting about things that, in the big picture, perhaps don’t really matter so much. Consider caring a little less about those things, and instead putting that energy into being your best self and making your positive difference in the world.
And maybe you can even practice this without experiencing an allergic reaction on live TV! To each their own.  :-)

Christi Hegstad, PhD, PCC, is the Practical + Purposeful Coach for Achievers!  Join our email community for coaching tips, book recommendations, tools, resources, and more!

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