This post originally appeared here on Illumination.
It's Time To Realize That Caring Too Much Is Not A Sign Of Weakness
Caring too much for others should not be a bad thing. People tell me all the time that the world could benefit from more kindness and compassion. They say kindness is one of the fastest and most gratifying ways to inspire greatness in ourselves and others because pleasant people bring much-needed light into dark places. The world doesn’t need more hatred or selfishness.
Yet these are the same people who turn around and blame me for overthinking. They label me as oversensitive and query why I allow stuff to bother me, or that I must learn to detach because we live in egocentric times.
Unfortunately, that’s me. I’m always the one who cares too much. Sure, without a doubt, I get hurt. I get let down and I’m disappointed in people when they don’t do what they say they would. I end up caring more about others than they care about me.
But since when is caring for others a bad thing? Since when did being nice get a bad reputation? It’s easy as hell to be nasty, and I see people flaunt their bloody colors like a peacock flaunts its feathers. It drives me nuts because I genuinely believe in people. Nobody’s perfect. I can’t function at my peak when I go around carrying the idea that I can’t trust anyone or feel like I’m a rare breed in this cruel and hostile world.
Caring so deeply for others can suck sometimes. No, let me correct that — most of the time. Whenever things go wrong, I swear I’ll learn. I promise myself that I’ll turn ice cold the next time they come around. But that would mean turning against myself, ignoring my emotions, and denying myself joy and pleasure.
I feel fulfilled when I go out of my way to be nice. I genuinely want people around me to be happy. I love deeply. Do I care too much? I give when it’s in my ability to do so. That’s my strength. Should I be ashamed of that? Should I now try to restrict myself because I’m worried about what others will think? How will they respond? Or would they even appreciate what I do for them?
More often than not, we get disappointed not by people, but by our own expectations of them.
None of those matters. Because no one held me at gunpoint or forced me to be nice. No one said that I “must’’ do a certain thing. Humans have the capacity to choose and to act independently. And my decision is always to follow my heart.
Even though it may seem like I’m setting myself up to get hurt, or my unrealistic expectations would shatter like glass by someone’s inconsiderate and apathetic response, that’s not how I view it.
Kindness is not an exchange. A favor is exactly what it is — a favor. If it has to be an exchange, the other party ought to know it in advance. I have no control over how people will respond or react. But I know that I’ve chosen to care. I care about how people feel. Of course, somewhere down the road, they might forget me, or not remember what I did for them. That’s fine and dandy because I don’t live in tomorrow’s land. I don’t live in anticipation that someone must remember my good deeds. If they don’t, that’s not my problem. I’ll let karma take care of that.
More often than not, we get disappointed not by people, but by our own expectations. When we expect others to behave a certain way, to say the right things at the right time, we set ourselves up for failure. We shouldn’t expect others to be how we want them to be. Everyone should live as they intend.
Most people don’t care at all. They don’t follow through. They betray our trust and abandon us when we need them.
I don’t believe I should stop caring just so I’ll look cool or disguise my feelings — that would drive me up the wall. Why should I hide the fact that I genuinely give a shit? That’s why I will still answer messages. I will show up when I’m needed. I will keep my word and not let you down. To ignore my feelings is to sell myself short. It will look like I had it all together, but I’ll be miserable and I refuse to live that way.
If I stop caring, I will tell you. If I can’t extend a favor, rest assured you will know. I know my worth and no one gets to walk over me unless I allow them. But I will not water down my passion just because someone is callous and cold-hearted.
Most people don’t care at all. They don’t follow through. They betray our trust and abandon us when we need them. The world is full of people like that. I’ve tried to be cold and insensitive. I tried to live like everyone else, to stick out my middle finger thinking that was normal. Perhaps it is. I realized that’s not my kind of normal because it made me sick. The last thing I want to be is indifferent, to stir up a storm and then go home wretchedly unhappy and uncomfortable. I can’t do it.
I decided this is how I’m going to be. This is me. I’ll have to be the freaking person who cares so damn much because that’s who I am. You can quit feeling sorry for me.
I’ll probably get disappointed sometime. It may even hurt, and I’ll look stupid. There will probably be many days I’ll cry a river thinking about people’s behavior. But I reckon I’d rather have that than live unauthentically. I’d rather be that than ruminate about what I could have or should have done instead. I owe it to myself to be true, if not for anyone, it’s for my own sake.
I guess I’ll always be the one who cares too much, love too deeply, who always gives a shit about how you feel. I’ll be the one who cries over lyrics of a song or wonder if you’re okay and eager to find out how you’re doing. Because that’s the truth, and I can’t deny myself.
Caring means letting people be free. Grace is not the result of expectation. No one “has to” do anything for me, but it surely would be nice if they do. I’ll not feel bad if they don’t get it. I release myself from unnecessary stress and a burdened state of mind.
If you’re anything like me, it’s time you acknowledge your reality. Our ability to care deeply is not a weakness. When we embrace that fact, it allows us to experience life more deeply and powerfully. Take pride in who you are and own your outcomes.