The self-defeating loneliness of dogmatic self-acceptance

‘I don’t care what you think’ poses as a rejection of other people’s opinions and parades as the acceptance of self. But to adopt this concept of ‘self-acceptance in a vacuum’ you must pretend that you are not a human being — you must think of yourself as some alien creature that hasn’t been evolving and adapting for millions of years to live and work in hierarchical social groups. In short, you must think of yourself as a god: self-existent and self-sufficient.

In contrast, being part of a supportive, caring human community means being surrounded by people who genuinely do care about what you think.

Intimacy is not a prevalent feature in a room full of people whose common belief is that nobody in the room has an opinion that matters. Insisting that you don’t care what others think amounts to alienating and isolating yourself. Thus we can feel the aching loneliness behind the image when someone posts a selfie and declares, ’This is my image and identity, and I don’t care what people think of me.’

‘I don’t care what you think’ might be more accurately translated: ‘I am more concerned with someone else’s opinion than I am with your opinion.’ So in the end, it is possible that the I-don’t-care selfie is more about identifying the support of one’s in-group than claiming independence from the opinions of people in general. In other words, ‘I don’t care what anyone thinks about me’ could equate to ‘Who cares, supports, and validates identities that look like this?’

Sometimes ‘I don’t care what you think’ might be a desperate and public attempt to figure out who, in fact, actually cares the most.

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If you really don’t care what I think, why do you need me to think you don’t care?

This is a short reflection about a common and quirky(?) statement: ‘I don’t care what you think.’

‘I don’t care what you think’ raises a question: what is the point of saying it?

Only someone who really cares what I think needs me to know how much they don’t care. And it appears that they care a great deal that I understand that they don’t care. In fact, appearing to not care is something they seem to care about a great deal.

‘I don’t care what you think’ thus says a great deal about what the speaker wants me to think. Otherwise, there is very little point in speaking the words in the first place. The fact they are saying these words suggests that, in fact, they do care what I think. The phrase is an interesting paradox of language, when you think about it.

The more emphatically someone tries to convince me that they don’t care about my opinion, the more apparent it seems how much they in fact care deeply about my perception of their opinion.

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