I Care Deeply
Caring deeply, from the soul, the core of one’s being, makes for an interesting life. According to the Oxford dictionary, to care is to be concerned, attentive, considerate, affectionate, sympathetic, understanding, receptive, compassionate and gracious. To care deeply goes beyond the cursory, it is a deep, intense, fierce sense of things mattering. Every human interaction matters, every conversation, every need expressed or intimated, every feeling, every emotion. All are felt with every fibre of my being. It can be exhausting being altruistic, and it can be very fulfilling.
Many people, especially women in my experience, feel the need to care too much. Caring for others needs and desires while paying little or no attention to themselves. When everyone around you becomes the centre of your attention, your own self risks becoming lost. Your needs, wants, dreams and goals vanish under the layers of people pleasing, and putting everyone else’s needs above your own.
Caring too much gets in the way of being authentic, in bringing the real you to the conversation. Heck, after considerable practise of caring too much, it becomes who you are, a habit of being, wired into your neurology.
To care is to love, and to love is to care. To care deeply requires paying attention to the details of caring, listening intently to what others have to say, seeking understanding, being present, being authentic. To care deeply is to allow space for the conversation, for the relationship to develop, to provide space and freedom of expression, freedom of choice, free from judgement and control.
To care too much is busy work, fulfilling the often-superficial needs of others while putting yourself last, responding to other people’s emergencies when it isn’t convenient for you, making sure everyone around you is satisfied at the expense of you. Time is filled to the brim with tasks to ensure you meet with others approval. You fear rejection at a deep level and being everything to everyone gives you a sense of value and control.
Caring too much, to a dysfunctional level, is a behaviour that becomes a habit. Like all behaviours, caring too much is part who you are (genetics), part your environment and the skills (behaviours) you have learnt in the past for you to survive, and part societal expectations especially around gender roles.
Dysfunctional over-caring is the pendulum having swung too far in one direction. Thankfully, if we pay attention, are self-aware, and practise, we can shift the pendulum carefully back toward the middle, where caring deeply, with intent lives, and there you will uncover yourself.
I had a deep conversation with a friend recently, over beetroot chi, coconut latte, and a question she asked really resonated with me, “if it could look different, how would it look?”. If we want things to be better, we need to be clear about what ‘better’ looks like, so we know the direction we are navigating. And then we practise with intent, taking one baby step, one conversation at a time, towards our ‘better’, and our authentic self.
I had the pleasure of meeting Jessica, owner of the gorgeous fashion boutique, BE U, at Paraparaumu Beach, Kapiti Coast, New Zealand where we had a conversation about BEing. Jessica says, “you are the most beautiful when you are being yourself”. So, BE U! https://www.facebook.com/BEUBoutiqueNZ/
Be Bold, Be Brave, Be BEaUtiful and Care Deeply