Care and Consideration
Success and caring are an important team. Many of us in western cultures have not been taught how to care and be considerate. Caring and consideration is not niceness or pleasing other people. Caring means to consider someone else while you consider yourself and your own needs. It means that you must count yourself as important and you count others as well.
None of us accomplish success in a vacuum that does not include other people. No matter what, we live in a world that is peopled by others.
Caring for Ourselves
The paradox is that we have often not been taught to care for ourselves; therefore caring for others becomes secondary to us. We cannot truly care for other people unless we care for ourselves. There is a trend in the Law of Attraction field that talks about being selfish, putting your own needs first. It is my thought that we are instructed to be selfish – so that we learn to care for ourselves, determine what our needs and wants are and to go for them. But this does not mean to disregard others.
What it means, is that we have been socialized to devalue ourselves and not care for ourselves. Because many of us have been trained to think that we don’t count, we are the walking wounded in the world. We walk around on empty and look for others fill up our tank. Others can’t fill us up. As adults we have to do this.
We do that first by caring for ourselves. To care for ourselves means to come to know the unique individual that we are and cherish this individual we call “me.”
It is important to come to know yourself, acknowledge what you are thinking and feeling, and what your hopes and dreams are, and to move towards those dreams. To do so satisfies your basic need to create and be alive.
When you care about yourself and treat yourself as you would some you hold with special esteem, your inner tank begins to fill up, and then you have the capacity to see beyond “me.”
Caring for Others
We must never forget that we live in a field of energy, a field of all creation. That field holds many others: planets, plants, animals, water, forests, oceans, all forms of living things, and particularly people. Whatever we do or say has impact on everything around us. If you want to be successful, you must learn that you have impact on the world around you.
Hopefully, you will understand that caring about others and caring about your impact is vital to yourself.
Do you like it when others don’t consider you and your needs? Do you like it when others think of you as an object to move around on a chessboard to meet their objectives? How does it feel when you know that you are not seen as the total person you are, but the job you do as an employee? Does your dander arise when you are not respected? Do you get angry when others don’t want to hear your ideas, your opinions, and your thoughts? So it feels to others when we do not see them, listen and value them.
The “I Count, You Count, We Count” Equation
We are born in relationship to others. We humans cannot survive as infants without others to care for us. Somewhere in our growing up to adults, though, we forget that relationship is part of the human condition.
In a perfect world, we would know that “I count.” We would know that “you count.” We would also know that our relationship is its own entity and the “we count” is one way to acknowledge that. If I had known that early in my younger life, my first marriage would have been very different. There is an I, there is a you and there is an ‘us’ or a ‘we.’
Basic considerateness is a way to demonstrate to a person that ‘I count’ and that ‘you count’ to them. It is a basic need we humans have. You want to count (to be respected, cared about) and I want to count. When we are treated with disrespect and uncaringly, we each tend to get mad or sad. The basic need to be respected for being a human being is very important.
Empty and full tanks
If we cared enough about ourselves, we would be full naturally, because we would respect ourselves and attend to our needs and wants in life. Because many of us don’t know how to care for ourselves, we don’t attend to ourselves; we don’t get enough sleep, really good food, time for play and pleasure, time with people we care about, laughter, learning and all the basics that attend to our body, mind, feelings, and spirit. Women especially are trained to say “I don’t count.”
So we tend to look to others to give us what we need. We want our bosses to appreciate us, reward us, we want our parent’s approval, we want our friends to love us, we want others to prepare our food and wash our clothes. We want our romantic partner to think that the sun rises and sets in us. We want our children to really appreciate everything we do for them. In these scenarios we are not valuing ourselves. Our need is so great it is as though we want to become the center of everyone’s universe so that our needs get met.
If there was only one person in the universe, that might work.
Caring establishes a flow of energy.
Here’s the thing. Caring establishes a flow of energy to and from each of us. When we are on empty, the energy is only flowing one way, and most people around us get resentful. We are taking, and they are giving.
If everyone is the center of their own universe (which actually is a truth), and everyone is on emotional empty, needing everything from others, there is no natural flow. Look at how you light up when someone gives you a genuine caring smile and really sees you. You almost always give that smile back in return, and both of us are soothed, given to, and feel cared for.
Smiles are so powerful. One smile I received almost thirty years ago still gives to me whenever I think of it. It was a winter day in Minnesota, and I was rushing to an acupuncture appointment. In my haste, I stopped in the crosswalk. A mother and her young daughter had to walk out around the hood of my car. The wind was blowing strong, and I instantly felt deep shame. I was in a warm car. Those two were fighting the wind to move around the obstacle of my car. I just watched in dumb horror. The mother stared straight ahead. The young girl turned and looked directly into my eyes. When we connected, a smile with the wattage of the sun came over her face. She saw me. She blessed me with her smile. She cared that I was in pain. She forgave me for stopping in her path. Even now I want to weep from the grace that young girl bestowed upon me. That is an example of caring. She saw me. I saw her. We connected even though we were strangers.
That is an example of the flow of energy between two people who see each other and choose to care. Each feels nourished and given to. We each have added juice to our battery. That is the great gift of Caring. You cannot care without both giving and receiving. As we receive and give, our tanks get fuller and fuller.
Caring is a choice
Even in my shame that winter morning, I chose to look directly into that young girl’s eyes. The different color of our skin didn’t matter. The difference of our money didn’t matter. I only realize now, that I gave to her, because I chose to look deep into her eyes and see her, even though I was deeply ashamed that my inconsiderateness had made their walk just a little more difficult. All these years I had been thinking the giving was one way.
I had been studying with a spiritual teacher for years, and she emphasized that Caring is a choice. Caring is learnable.
It took me years of learning, and I still am only a beginner at caring. So I will tell you the carrot of this story.
Caring about the Others in your life is the most powerful thing you can do. It sets up a flow of energy that is restorative to you (and to them). It enlarges the capacity of your heart and people will be drawn to you. If you are like so many of us ‘walking wounded’, by caring about your impact on another, and really valuing them, seeing them, hearing them, acknowledging them, you will receive enormously, because you will have given enormously and people respond to givingness. Being in ‘take’ energy repels people away from you. Genuinely caring attracts people to you. People will be willing to help you and support you. People flourish when they are cared for. So the tricky thing in this carrot, is that you will receive so much more by choosing to care and be considerate than you ever could by just only being interested in what you want, and the outcome you desire.
There is so much to learn about Giving and Receiving, Counting Self and Counting Others, our Impact on others, Caring and kindness. We’ll consider those topics in the future.