Some of us spend our entire lives trying to escape from self-centeredness. Maybe that’s the whole point, the whole challenge, what the dang thing is all about. Some of us succeed at this better than others. It seems to me that the ones who have succeeded the most are those who somehow turn self-caring into other-caring.
It takes a heck of a lot of courage to turn those tables and be an other-carer, because people who care always run the risk of being hurt. It’s not easy to let your guard down, open your heart, react with sympathy or compassion even enthusiasm when it’s much easier and much safer not to get involved.
I’ve heard many stories where someone is getting mugged in plain sight and lie beaten on the sidewalk and people (afraid of getting involved) simply walk past these desperate people as if nothing has happened. Playing it safe; Is that what’s it come down to? To simply disregard all care for humankind to simply save ourselves?
We’ve all experienced the pain of someone doing us wrong that’s just part of life. The question is are we going to continue playing the victim and refuse to go forward because of it?
I refuse to stay there.
Those who choose to let go of the hurts of the past, to go forward and take a risk make a tremendous discovery; The more things you care about, and the more intensely you care, the more alive you are.
This capacity for caring can illuminate any relationship; marriage, family, friendships – even the ties of affection that often joins humans and animals. Each of us is born with some of it (hopefully, sometimes I wonder), but whether we let it expand or diminish is largely up to us.
To care means surrendering the armor of indifference; being willing to act, to make the first move. It means being approachable, allowing yourself to be absorbed with something other than yourself – and in this absorption and expansion of life and love – to be fulfilled.