Can you care too Much??
Can you care too Much??
I have always been a caretaker. You know those moments, when someone misses their chair and falls to the ground? Well I’m the one checking that they’re OK while everyone roars with laughter. I always felt a responsibility to take care of those around me, my family, my partner, my friends, etc… Perhaps this is a result of being the eldest of three children, or perhaps it’s an element of my personality, either way it’s something that has been a part of me for a very long time. It is something that has contributed to my life in both positive and negative ways because I have had a tendency to care too much.
Caring too much can mean that sometimes you can get taken advantage of, because boundaries are laid out in the beginning of any relationship and if you do everything from the get go then that’s most likely the role you will always play. You can’t take responsibility for other people but when you try to, you do so at the cost of your own well being. You end up putting other people first and, although that might sound wonderfully commendable and selfless, you start to lose the person who should be the most important in your life, you. There is also the other side of it, by care taking too much and taking control, out of love, those people, whom we love, never learn anything. It’s so much more rewarding to see someone figure out things on their own with a little guidance rather than doing it for them. It’s something I discovered a long time ago, thankfully, because I take pleasure in helping people to help themselves.
Just the other day, I had the opportunity to help a friend with the editing of an article she had written. It was one of the first interest pieces she had ever done and she had asked for my advice a couple of months ago. I read it and suggested we meet up and go through it together. I didn’t hear anymore about it for a while. We were having dinner together at my place recently and I asked her about it. She told me that she had kind of given up on it, she had gotten so much feedback from different people that she now felt dejected. One person had clinically edited the whole piece, with comments and all, another just commented that some of it was boring. In summary, they had all be completely unhelpful. I suggested we go through it then and there. It was incredible to see the insight ‘Conquering Life’ has given me, even into writing. I could clearly see her doubts and insecurities within the lines of the article and I called her out on them. I told her, this is your article! You don’t need to justify anything to anybody! I pointed out things, sometimes giving suggestions, but she did all the work. I gave her a platform and a place to bounce off ideas, that was judgement free. I am so proud of what she accomplished.
Healthy caring can be incredibly helpful. As always it comes back to balance. I cannot take charge of anyone’s life. I can only be there as support and to offer a hand up when they fall. We cannot absolutely protect anyone in this life and it’s far more precious to find someone who can be supportive without taking over. In most areas of my life I’ve managed to learn the right way to care, in others I’m still learning. Care taking doesn’t equate to loving, and neither does controlling. People have to be free to live and make mistakes, even if it means they end up with pink clothes because they washed colors and whites together, even if they fall and scrape their knees because they weren’t looking where they were going. Conquering life doesn’t mean we’ll always get things right, it means that we’ll learn from our mistakes.