Keep Caring, but Stop Over-Caring

Caring is not the same as over-caring.  With caring, we continue to allow ourselves to feel something for someone else, for a purpose, for our sphere of responsibility.  Regular caring is connected to our conscience.  It is important that we care—that we care to do the right thing, that we care to do the brave thing, that we care to do the caring thing.  Without care, this world is a cold, dark place.  Caring is what stirs up the love in our hearts, allowing it to overflow into the lives of others (and we also benefit—our lives are enriched when we care to do a good job with things and when we care to take good care of ourselves and our family).  But to over-care is where we lose focus on where the proper bounds are for what we are responsible for and to whom we are responsible.  People like us sometimes think that we can fix all problems and all people just by caring enough for them and doing enough for them and giving of ourselves enough for their sake.  But the hard truth here is that we can only do what we can do.  We cannot make someone else’s choices for them or live their lives for them.  We can certainly encourage others to walk the good path, but we can’t really force them to take the road that they refuse to go down.  We must detach enough so that we remember where we start and where we end.  In this way, our caring can have its full effect without draining the life out of us.  Furthermore, by focusing our output, we are better able to retain our autonomy so that our good moods and our own good choices aren’t swayed by those of others.

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