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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, July 18 2014 - Volume 42 Issue 29
INSIGHTS & PERSPECTIVES: 'Fuck-It' Factor
Section One
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INSIGHTS & PERSPECTIVES: 'Fuck-It' Factor

by Michael Raitt - SGN Contributing Writer

How many times in your life have you heard yourself say, 'fuck it'? Perhaps it was related to a relationship dynamic or trying to get something done. Most of us have had this experience and we react to it, yet few of us pay much attention to it or understand it. It is worth understanding because it is a normal experience that can backfire if we are not careful.

'Fuck it' is usually the reaction to a high level of frustration. Frustration is simply a lesser degree of anger and it often escalates to anger or rage. With the anger, some people also feel depressed and hopeless when they have reached this point.

It is also a phrase that expresses that one is on the verge of giving up. Sometimes an individual has already given up when they are finally aware of how they feel.

'Fuck it' is a very unpleasant feeling and with that unpleasantness comes some form of reactivity. When the 'fuck-it factor' kicks in, people react impulsively by either lashing out in anger, relapsing, quitting, or getting depressed and withdrawing or surrendering. It is rare that these reactions are helpful to the individual.

Here are some things you can do. First, you have to become more aware of that voice that says 'fuck it' and how you react to that. Which situations get you to a 'fuck it' place? What kinds of impulsive behaviors do you engage in when you are that frustrated? Then begin to assess the negative impact those reactions have on your life. If any of your reactions lead you to an outcome where you have more drama or stress in your life, the 'fuck-it factor' is working against you!

The next step operates on the fact that we always have a choice!! There is never one option for anything.

Once you have started to understand the triggers to your frustration and the ways in which you react, you move on to the second step. The second step has two basic parts to it.

The first part is exercising your ability to see things in a different way. For example, if you reach the 'fuck-it factor' because this is the third time in a week the dog has pooped on floor and you are saying something like, 'stupid dog....', you could stop and look at the dog with compassionate eyes and realize that he's a good dog and pooped because he was in the house too long. In being able to do this, you are changing your reaction - a reaction that you were about to act on. If your reaction is different, you won't impulsively act on it the way you have in the past.

The second part of the second step is exercising your ability to control your impulses. All of us who have stayed out of jail have the ability to exercise impulse control! Under most circumstances, no matter how frustrated one is, one can always say, 'even though I might want to, I'm not going to yell at my wife' or, 'I don't have to make a scene right now and storm out of here in a tantrum' and, 'this is not worth me jeopardizing my sobriety over.'

Human nature is that we are pain avoidant creatures. We try to get away from physical pain just as much as we do emotional pain. It is true that some feelings are very unpleasant to experience. What is equally true is that given a few minutes, a few hours, or a few days, those feelings will pass and we will feel better. Tolerance is our ability to experience that which is painful/unpleasant. It is also the skill that is correlated to our behaviors. When we have a high level of tolerance, our impulsive reactions are lower. Likewise, when our ability to tolerate is low, our impulsive behaviors are high.

When we react impulsively, we set ourselves back. We say things that are hurtful which puts strain on relationships, we relapse which leads to a host of other complications, and/or we run away - quit jobs, end relationships - only to have to deal with those consequences later.

Don't let the 'fuck-it factor' add more complications to your life. Begin to practice your ability to make choices and choose that which is going to benefit you. You'll have less collateral damage to fix later and you will likely be happier overall when things turn out better for you.

Michael Raitt, MA LMHC, is a Therapist and a Contributing Writer to the SGN. He writes a bi-monthly column in the SGN. If you would like to comment on this column, ask a question you'd like him to write about, or suggest another topic of interest, please contact him at Michael.Raitt@comcast.net.

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