Monday Musings...When You Care Too Much
The sun was setting and the cloud cover was looming; there was a heaviness in the air as the saturated clouds were attempting to hold back the rain. I turned and there she was - my good friend. Whenever you are around this person, she just makes you feel good. She is one of the most positive, energetic, most thoughtful people that I know. She is the one who spontaneously sends cards of encouragement or flowers to pick you up. Everyone wants a friend like that. But that’s the problem…everyone wants her because you know she can be counted on…for anything. Everyone’s needs come before hers and she’s left with little mental and physical energy for herself. And so when I turned around to greet her, her personal cloud cover opened up as she could no longer hold back the river of emotion.
Every day many people run around, fighting against the clock and expectations, behind a mask that is hiding the reality of a pressured life. And every day feels the same. Giving, giving, giving... And then the bewilderment as to why their efforts often are not appreciated or reciprocated. The motivation to give, fills one’s emotional fuel tank. No doubt! Who isn’t on a high when you do a random act of kindness, for example? It feels good to give! And it is not that the people who give, even expect anything in return. But, you know, it only goes so far –when the recipients of the generosity keep expecting more – and before the giver realizes it – their fuel gauge is flashing E!!
Now the solution is not to tell the giver to stop caring so much. That in fact would make them more upset. Why? Because it is the essence of who they are. It is the same thing when you tell a person who is anxious to stop worrying. You’ve been there and you know how it makes you feel to hear that. It never works.
So here is the reality: givers gotta give. Those who care too much will always care too much. The only safeguard, mentally and physically, then is to consciously set low expectations. It’s not the answer most people want to hear, but you have to face it – people will continually let you down, be thoughtless, or self-centred. You would hope that the whole world would be caring – and they should be – but they are not. And that’s precisely why you feel like you are the only one that is caring, because in part it is true!
So keep caring because you want to; because there is always hope that it will be appreciated; because when it is, you feel awesome. And you know that one ounce of gratitude is often enough to fill that emotional fuel tank right back up! When your deeds are not rewarded or recognized, remember that that’s the way the world works – it’s not the way you work – but sadly, it’s the reality. No amount of correction will change the entitlement mindset. Your hope, and mine, is that the world watches your modelling of good citizenship, and craves it for themselves.
If you are exhausted from giving, it’s your body’s way of telling your mind to slow down, regroup, and refocus. Give yourself permission to take a breather until you feel that urge to care again. You know the risks of caring, but they outweigh discouragement. That’s how you are wired. You may be cynical for a while, and so you have a choice – to be like the masses or be true to yourself. Only you know the answer.
If what I am writing resonates with you, I hope you have at least one person you can lean on, where you can let the river of your emotions flow down. That release may be just what you need before you go back into the world to do what you do best – care about others. These words are written for you, and sent with a virtual basket of flowers in appreciation!
This week's song is: You are Loved by Stars Go Dim