When We Care for All the Wrong Reasons

We care about so many things.

Some of those things are truly significant, like the well-being of our loved ones, the things that make us feel secure and stable and we care about the special moments that light up our days.

But we also care about other things, not so significant.

We care about the tone of the cashier (she was so rude); we also care about the fact that Jimmy, from accounting, didn’t bother to ask how we feel today (didn’t he knew I was sick yesterday?); and we care about that time Joan of Arcadia was cancelled (Well, I did).

 

Caring is a Limited Resource

Often we forget that to care is a depletion activity. The more we care, the less energy we have to face the truly important trials we might encounter throughout our day. And the more we care about non-critical situations, the less energy we have to focus on the truly important matters.

I’m not saying that we should be completely oblivious to a rude co-worker or to the cancellation of our favorite TV show; I’m just saying that we must be conscious and careful about the selection of things we chose to care about.

Because to care it’s a choice, and a rather important one, I might add.

 

The Perfect Storm

When we fail to do so, we end up getting angry about insignificant matters every day, worrying about things without seeing that the worse case scenario is not nearly as bad as we imagine it to be or paying attention about what others say or think about us. No wonder why we feel exhausted by the end of the day.

Even worse than nurturing the perfect storm of anxiety inside our heads, is not being able to focus over the things that really matter.

Of course we fail to care about the things that can truly make our lives special, like building an emotional bond with our children or getting to know and understand our life’s purpose, if we spend all our “care reserve” over every single thing we encounter throughout our day.

 

Care Less to Care More

I’m not arguing to be careless, all the contrary. We should care, and a lot, but we should care about the right things, about the important matters (the truly important matters, not the inbox nor the to-do list).

But, you see, we must care less about the things that bother us in order to be able to care more about the things that make us feel truly alive.

 

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If you enjoyed this article, you might also like The Perks of a Life Without PicturesEmpty Yourself, Just Breath and Be Better by Doing Less. Check them out and let me know what you think!

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32 Comments

  1. I liked this post. I tend to care about every little thing – and this really opened my mind to being more discriminating about what I chose to care about.

  2. thank you for this post; I often get annoyed with myself why I care about things that obviously are not worth it, but I can’t just stop. This post made me think it’s more of a way my brain keeps on busy with unimportant things so I am not focusing on the real important matter

    • It happens to all of us, but once we realise the importance of caring about the right things and withdraw our attention away from irrelevant events, we start to get better at it.

  3. I never thought about caring as being a depletion activity although I know it to be true, having felt it to be overwhelming at times. I’ll hold onto that thought and be more conscious of the aspect of depletion and try to be more discriminting in what I let myself care about.

    • Sometimes we are unable to acknowledge the effects of caring too much about irrelevant events, even when the consequences of doing so tend to manifest sound and clear in our bodies and minds.

  4. In a nut shell, you broke the wall of self deceit and self absorption, before now I spent precious time on insignificant moments. She ‘eye balled’ me, he ‘jumped the queue and couldn’t even say thank you etc. Now I care less about that which is of no value and more about that which will make a positive impact in my tomorrow.

    For me ‘thegoodvader’, you scored a big ‘home run’.

    Still need to peruse through your articles, they are that good especially when written from a man’s perspective.

  5. Very thoughtful. Interesting perspective and worth sharing. Is it okay to reblog?

  6. Couldn’t agree more.

  7. Fabulous… So clear, less is definitely more in my experience … You have voice a deep instinct of mine that others think make me selfish… But quality over quantity works for me!!

    • Taking proper care of ourselves in order to be able to take proper care of others is often confused with selfishness. There’s nothing further from the truth.

  8. I agree totally. We waste so much time & energy, worry about things we cannot change.

  9. janjoy52

    I was really bummed about Joan of Arcadia being cancelled too! It was so well written and the premise was amazing and challenging our paradigms in a good way.

    • Yeah! I loved the way it portrayed god as the most “uncommon” individuals. Way accurate, in my opinion.

  10. Yep, interesting perspective, thanks – I think it’s a slightly different way of looking at the idea of not taking offence over small cheese, letting things slide off when they don’t really matter. Also not taking things personally. It is indeed a waste of our energy and of our time to care about some things, and better to just get on with something meaningful instead.

  11. I thought that I was the only one that loved that show! lol
    Superb post. I feel your sentiments exactly!

  12. jeffsdeepthoughts

    Awesome stuff here. That’s a great insight: that when we give our time and energy away to meaningless things, it steals life and joy from the important things. I am going to mull over the idea that in both cases, it’s kind of the same thing: Caring. I get it that we use the same word for attention to the irritants of the world and attention to family and loved ones… I guess I have always suspected that when we are caring in a pure sense, (maybe call this “love?”) we have an endlessly recharging well. But we poison this well not because we gave too much away, but because we busied our heart and mind with meaninglessness, and sacrificed what we had.

    • I’m glad you liked it, Jeff! Indeed recharging is possible, and we do so when we spend time doing things we love, things that truly fulfil us (playing with our kids, pets, time with our significant other, hobbies, etc.). The problem is that we rarely prioritise such activities!

  13. Very helpful concept to remember, that caring is a depletion activity…so care about important things. Thanks.

  14. Ah, but sometimes it’s very difficult to turn the “caring” switch off (perhaps it’s just due to my ridiculous emotional sensitivity) and the more I tell myself I don’t care, the more the “caring” festers beneath my skin, until I am in more pain because I’m trying so hard not to care — if that makes sense.

    • It is hard indeed. I believe that the key is in acknowledging that the reason why we stop caring about some things is in order to be able to care for other more important, relevant things.

  15. Wow! This is amazing. Thank you for sharing. This helped me a lot! I love your Blog!

  16. Right… care less to care more.

    I guess we all are guilty of this.

    Somehow, somewhere in our lives, there’s something taking up more than it should in our “care space”. However, with self awareness we can take note of this when and where it happens and then do what we need to do to snap out of it.

  17. Thanks for sharing your thoughts Olajumoke. I believe awareness is the most important thing about taking control of how much we care!

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