We Need to Feel Things, Good and Bad, For Our Health and Others

In my September 3rd post I began my discussion of caring, and why it’s so critical. Clarify, not the caring too much about what other people think, or changing yourself as a result to please others. But acknowledging how others feel, drawing on one’s own strong feelings of sympathy and dare I say empathy, as a source of power and positive motivation. A paper written for the Harvard Annual Review of Psychology states “research reveals that emotions constitute powerful, pervasive, and predictable drivers of decision making.” ** Pretending not to care, or actually not caring, robs us of the much needed drive we need to be engaged members of our own lives and the communities we inhabit, to connect with others.

When people pretend not to care, act as if that is a healthy sense of detachment and aren’t they so self assured, they are almost always the people who are the most insecure and care the most about what other’s feel. IT TOOK ME FOREVER to not just know that but believe it. As a parent I worked for years, and still have to remind my adult children about this weird cultural norm. In a world that has suffered the mass trauma of a pandemic, resulting isolation, high rates of depression and other health and mental health disorders that have apathy as a sign or symptom, why are people still pushing this not caring crap?

I don’t care too much, the next person who insinuates that is going to get an earful. I never have. If my caring makes someone uncomfortable I wonder why? I suspect it has something to do with them not caring enough, or lacking the ability to empathize. Don’t worry, you can develop that further once you catch on. Meanwhile I’m going to keep caring, about myself and others, and taking the pain and joy that comes with that because healthy emotions are only useful as a set. The fine china bowl and linen napkin mean very little if I don’t have my spoon to enjoy the soup that is life. (You decide which emotion is which utensil, good and bad)


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