Recently I attended a retreat for the local church and during the retreat, we were told to let go of our baggage and barriers. I’ve always been aware of my baggage, it’s been weighing me down for as long as I can remember. My baggage was simple. I care too much. Now some of you may be thinking, well what is that supposed to mean? It means that I used to constantly feel like I put all the effort into any relationship. I’m the one starting and keeping conversations going. I ask how the other person is doing and genuinely care about their well-being and emotional state. But, what did I get in return? It felt like I got nothing, no appreciation, not even half as much effort back as I put in. Then after yet another person would completely stop trying in our relationship, I would spend my nights wondering why I wasn’t good enough and what was wrong with me. I would analyze anything and everything I did wrong. I took full blame for all the broken relationships. Then I got to a point where I wanted to stop trying in relationships all together because I was stuck in a mindset where I thought, “If they don’t care for me, why should I care for them?” But that’s not how it works.
After letting go of all my baggage at the retreat, I began to think about this problem again, but in a new light. After months of feeling unworthy and angry at myself for caring too much, I finally realized that caring too much isn’t a bad thing. Sure it makes you vulnerable and makes you feel like people leave all to often, but in the end I would choose caring too much over not caring enough any day. The whole reason why I care so much for other people is because I want them to know that they are loved and someone out there cares for them. I don’t want them to feel alone or like no one cares about them enough to listen to there problems. Because I will listen. I will listen at 2 a.m., I will listen at 3 p.m., I will always be there to listen to you and to what you have to say. Sure it sucks when it seems that no one cares for me in return, but I like to think that I am affecting their lives in a positive way and then they will affect someone else positively and thus in the end, someone will come around and affect me in a positive way. The key is to care as much as you can, but don’t lose yourself along the way. Care for people, but don’t forget that you are important too. Don’t spend too much time caring for someone else, that you forget to care for yourself first.
For those of you with the same problem that I used to have, all I can tell you is that, if you really do care for others, keep on “caring more” because chances are there are some people out there that need you to care for them and maybe they aren’t strong enough to reciprocate that love back to you, but the best you can do it to keep caring for them simply because they need you to. There will be times where you just want to give up because people don’t care as much as you do, but hang in there because the whole point of caring for others is to make sure that the other person is okay and to let them know that you are there, even when they aren’t there for you. People will come and go, stand your ground and love like you’ve never been hurt. If you stop caring and loving, then you never know how many great people you could have met and gotten to know.