• Ryan Luby

My Dirty Red Sweatshirt

Updated: Jun 7, 2018




The zipper is partially broken. There's a hole at the edge of the left pocket. There are white paint stains from when I painted our kitchen cabinets, and more from when I repainted our interior doors. The fuzz from the inside that made it so warm when I first bought it is almost completely gone. I wear it any chance I get. Around the house or in public. It certainly doesn't meet the standards to be business casual.. but I have worn it into the office for work, a few times..


I used to care what people thought of me when I was younger. But that stopped a long time ago.


I used to carefully choose what I wore (even though you would'nt be able to tell). But that also stopped a long time ago.


In fact, I often grab clothes that don't match these days. I wear black undershirts, with brown zip-up sweatshirts..


I almost always wear blue pants with black shirts.


And any chance I get I wear my dirty-red sweatshirt.


Of course it's comfortable. But it also stands out. Not in a good way.

If I was 15 it might have made me uncomfortable to wear it certain places, but now I wear it just because I know it makes others uncomfortable.


I used to be concerned if I didn't dress right I might not get the job, or someone might tell me I look stupid.. now I wear clothes I want just because. And I hope people who are bothered don't hire me, and I hope people who think I look stupid speak up.. it helps save time, because I wouldn't want to work with someone who cared more about my clothes than my character. And I would'nt care to spend time with someone who judged me by my appearance instead of my personality.


You should never live to spite others. That's not at all what I am talking about. It's really the opposite. You need to live your life. Without concern about what anyone else does or thinks. The trick is, anyone includes yourself.


Forget your own judgements, and silly anxieties about what might happen, or how you or others might feel.


Even better, if you are feeling like you can't wear something, or do something because you might be judged.. that's exactly the reason you have to do whatever you are resisting.


How:


There are all sorts of tricks to get used to this. To get comfortable in clearly uncomfortable situations.


One practice involves going to any coffee shop, ordering your coffee and asking for a 10% discount. Try not to laugh or make it a joke. And don't tell anyone what you are doing.


Just ask for 10% off your coffee. Don't under-estimate the power of this. It sounds easier than it is.


I have also heard of an old stoic practice of drawing a blue square on your forehead with an erasable marker and just going about your day. Again don't act silly and make a joke of it, just try to live your life as normal as possible. Regardless of what people say or do just acknowledge them and go about your day.


I have heard of people doing slightly simpler examples like wearing goofy pants or a goofy hat once a month, or once a week.


Why:


You can find your own way of course, but the point is to intentionally put yourself into uncomfortable situations. This involves puting yourself in situations where others are likely to judge you. That's the point. There is no need to let others thoughts or actions bother you, even if they are directly focused on you.


The practice of forcing yourself to be ok, while being judged is meant to teach you to take nothing personal.


The Outcome:


It's a life-long practice, but I promise this is by far the most worthwhile practice you will ever do.


With practice someone can cut you off while driving and you won't take it personal. Someone can not invite you somewhere and you won't think it's because someone doesn't like you. Relatives can make decisions about their lives and you won't feel like "I can't believe they did this to me.", and last but not least. Someone can walk up to you and tell you they hate your clothes, or your face, or whatever.. and you not only won't lash out or take it personal, you will feel bad.. but not for yourself anymore. You will feel bad for the person who just admitted they are living their life very confused, focused on all the wrong things.


Take nothing personal. It is the only way to live a life on your terms.


"I am convinced that life is 10% of what happens to me, and 90% of how I react to it." - Charles R. Swindoll


“Man is disturbed not by things, but by the views he takes of them.” — Epictetus


Learn more on this:


Article: 9 Stoic Practices

https://constantrenewal.com/stoic-practices/


Book: The Four Agreements - Don Miguel Ruiz

https://www.amazon.com/Four-Agreements-Practical-Personal-Freedom/dp/1878424319


Video: How to Apply Stoic Philosophy to your life

https://youtu.be/A0XxceO4qX0

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