I have been told my whole life “You care too much, it’s no big deal, don’t get so worked up, just relax and take things in stride”. Well I call BS! That’s right, my ability to care doesn’t make me weak, it doesn’t bring me down. On the contrary, it’s my freaking super power. I can internalize and personalize other people’s experience, with BOUNDARIES. Their struggle or their success isn’t mine to own, but with a healthy sense of caring I can identify with them. The me vs. you or the us vs. them, that false dichotomy that so often polarizes people or pushes them apart, doesn’t imprison me in a sense of self where the welfare and the lives of others are not relevant or important to me.
True, this means I can hurt more deeply sometimes. Likewise, I truly feel deep joy and happiness when I see others experience those emotions, and that can only come with the ability to empathize. Since when did empathy become an unhealthy habit? Maybe it’s just nostalgia but I recall that caring for ones neighbor, looking out for other people on your street, that was a sign of a healthy and safe community. Doing something for someone else simply because you could, and it would make them feel good, was encouraged and even taught. Not just lip service or talking points.
When did children start telling other children it’s not cool to care too much. In grade school people tried to make ME feel awkward because I didn’t hide my emotions. When I was a young woman I was told to lighten up, boys weren’t attracted to girls who were too “intense”. As a mother I was told, don’t worry so much about your kids or be too involved in their lives, you’re a helicopter parent. Screw that! My kids, my stitches and my feelings are all good. (maybe the stitches not as good as the others). I’ve got a lot more to say about this so stay tuned, and for sure leave a comment if you are inclined.