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The Truth About “I Don’t Care” and “It Doesn’t Matter”


I remember a friend once told me that her entire family forgot Mother’s Day – her husband, and her grown up kids.  I could tell she was incredibly hurt by that…but her reaction was “Oh well, it doesn’t matter”.  Yet, it was very evident that it did matter – and it mattered a lot.  I know I’ve done the same thing.  In fact, I have been known to use these two phrases way too often.  And I’m pretty certain I’m not alone in this…

Why, when something hurtful happens to us, or something that we really wanted to happen, doesn’t,  do we insist that it doesn’t matter?  Or that we don’t care?  I’ve been asking myself that question a lot.  I used the “I don’t care” phrase just the other day, when it became clear to me that something that I want to happen at my work is not ever going to happen, no matter how hard I try to make it so.  And one of my colleagues, who also happens to be a counselor, immediately called me on it.  She told me to stop telling myself  an outright lie.  Why do I do this?

Thinking back to my friend, when she said this to me, it was almost as if she was saying….I don’t matter, anyhow, so why should I care if someone hurts me?  And man oh man, writing that sentence just now makes me stop in my tracks.  Because, if you’ve been following my blog at all, you’ll know that I struggle with my own worth in this world.  So somehow it makes it easier, when things aren’t going my way, to just say oh well, who cares, anyhow?  It’s as if I’m saying well, you know you don’t matter anyhow, so there’s no sense caring about anything…

But, dammit! I do care!  It’s not ok to not care!  It’s downright dangerous to not care. And not only that, if you ask me, it’s a cop out. It lets me off the hook from saying what really needs to be said.  From saying something like  “you really hurt my feelings.”

So I’m watching myself way more closely.  I want to erase that way of thinking, and I know that it is possible to do so.   I AM WORTH CARING.  And it’s no longer ok to tell myself that I don’t care (when I do care!) or that it doesn’t matter (when it does matter!)  It’s no longer ok to tell myself an outright lie, believing in some perverted way that it’s going to make me feel better.  Because it won’t.  Not. Ever.

So, if you’re reading this, be careful with these two not-so-innocent little phrases.  Because if you’re using them, too…ask yourself, really?  Do  I really not care that someone has just shattered my heart?  I think you’ll be surprised by the answer.    We matter – and  it’s ok to say what we really feel.  The earth won’t stop turning.  Our hearts won’t stop beating.  Our world will not implode if we’re honest with someone who has hurt us.

Being able to talk about our real feelings is a vital part of self-care.  I for one intend to stop lying to myself by using these two phrases.  How about you?