I sometimes feel like I don’t care. I feel awful about it and it’s in total contrast to the way I’d like to perceive myself. I’d like to think I’m a caring person. Part of me knows that it can’t be true that I don’t care. This is where what I believe doesn’t always match what I feel. I believe that all people care. It’s part of being human to care. When people don’t care it’s because they have been deeply hurt. Logically, if this rule is true for everyone else, it must apply for me as well.
In my emotional healing practice I discovered today that my sense of caring has some strings attached to it. Somehow I got the idea that if I care about someone, I have an obligation to take care of them. I’m sure different groups have their version of this pattern but mine comes out of a long line of people who were fighting for their survival and had to witness others who simply didn’t make it, which resulted in the unbearably compulsive and desperate obligation to constantly save others.
Coming from this distorted perspective of caring, it makes sense how I would make an unaware decision not to care sometimes. It’s too much work! The thing is that not being allowed to care is deeply hurtful because of the loss of connection with my humaneness.
Processing the painful emotions that come with the feeling of not caring allowed me to come up with a new perspective: I get to care for others. Period. I don’t need to earn the caring about any particular person. I don’t need to help them solve their problems or do a single thing in their direction in order to care about them. It’s my birthright to care deeply and openly. Caring about someone is totally for me, not for them!
The irony is that even though I still have my work cut out for me in that area, I think I actually did manage to figure something out around my work. I offer a safe space for women to commune, heal and mainly engage in self care. People come with their baggage but I know I don’t need to save anyone. The group of women that religiously come to class every week and those who are attracted to my work have already made a decision to carve out time from their busy lives to take care of themselves on an ongoing basis. We are in fact modeling a rare form of self-care and at the same time, we get to practice caring about each other, in the healthiest way possible. We often get to support each other by just by being there, just by showing up for ourselves.