Would you say that you’re a caring person?
And you might be, but remember, when someone tells you they have a particular trait, it’s often the opposite.
After all, do you know anyone who tells you they’re laid back? I rest my case.
I’ll say that I’m a caring person too, but, I have to admit, the type of caring person I am might be different depending on my state of mind.
Sometimes I am plain old caring, I love my children, my partner and my friends, and I care about them.
And sometimes I care too much and get overwhelmed by worrying about them, and then I’m care-full.
And, to my shame, there are moments when I’m careless. When I’m so consumed by my stuff, I’m not as caring as I could be.
But my best times are when I’m carefree.
Are you care-full?
The danger with this state is that although you can fool yourself that you feel like this because you’re such a caring person, there are implications for you and the people you care about.
You might become obsessed with concern for others. You want to check in with them every few minutes to make sure they’re ok. You feel as if you take on their problems.
And if you’re not worrying and obsessing over someone, you think you’re not caring enough.
It’s clear that if you’re like this, you’ll be both a pain in the neck to the people you care about and you’ll get overwhelmed with their problems instead of getting on with your own life. And you might find that people stop telling you what worries them because once they’ve stopped worrying, you keep asking them about it and bringing it back to their mind.
And who wants that?
Or you might lose perspective and become over-protective with family members, and if they object, you get hurt and protest that it’s because you care about them.
But you’re heading towards burnout.
No one can have a head full of other people’s problems and feel great. Neurology influences physiology, and if you keep thinking about other people’s problems, your body doesn’t know that these aren’t your problems, and you will suffer physically and mentally.
And you might suffer compassion fatigue, so maybe you should try being careless.
Are you careless?
Careless sound fun, doesn’t it?
Who doesn’t want to care less about their problems, the washing up or a deadline?
But that isn’t what happens.
If you become careless, this is often a sign that you’re not at your best. You might become careless with yourself and stop eating well or start drinking too much because you, well, don’t care.
You become careless with friends and stop answering calls or messages. You haven’t got the mental bandwidth to care about their problems or even care about seeing them.
You feel numb. You haven’t only lost compassion for other people, but you’ve lost any sense of bothering about yourself.
You don’t care what happens.
This can result from a relationship break-up, financial worries or job loss. There are many things that knock our sense of self, and then our self-esteem suffers. You might feel as if there’s no point caring about what happens.
You might retreat into yourself or act in a larger-than-life way, not caring about what you say or who you hurt without realising that the one that hurts the most is you.
Don’t ask yourself where the feeling started because that will dig you deeper into the pit but ask why you feel like this right now.
Is there something on your mind that you care about so much that it’s causing you to shut down?
Remember that feeling carefree is just a thought away.
It’s easy to mistake being carefree for being free from anything to worry about.
Good luck with that.
I don’t think there’s a person alive that can’t find a reason to worry. If you’ve got a million pounds, you might scan the news for reports of stock market crashes and bank failures and fear that today is the day you’ll lose your money.
If you’re in a loving relationship, you might worry whenever your partner goes out of the door.
And on and on.
So being carefree doesn’t mean that everything in your life is bulletproof; it means that you aren’t constantly thinking about problems and worries all the time.
Carefree isn’t uncaring. It’s caring from a place of love and neutrality. When my daughters called me to tell me about a problem, I would worry about them, not sleep and try to fix the problem until one of them told me to butt out.
She told me that she just wanted to rant, not for me to fix anything.
What a wonderful thing to hear. She just wanted to rant.
This meant that I didn’t need to worry and obsess; I just had to listen and love them without caring about whatever was on their mind.
I was carefree.
Feeling carefree is freedom. This state allows you to deal with problems without becoming overwhelmed.
It means you can start a new venture without worrying about the outcome.
It’s allowing yourself to feel whatever comes up without making meaning of it and not becoming obsessed with why you feel something or analysing the feeling.
If you can’t think straight because you’re constantly worrying about other people and their problems, stop and ask yourself if you’re over-identifying with other people’s issues. Or are you over-attached to a particular outcome?
If so, notice the feeling and ask yourself where the feeling is coming from.
If you’re honest, you’ll be able to see that the feeling is coming from you and not from the other person or their issue. When you see this, you’ll be able to step away mentally.
Ask this question whenever you feel burdened about other people and their issues.
And if you’re careless, take some time to reset. Don’t try to numb feelings but remind yourself of where the feeling comes from. You must have some grade-A shitty thoughts, so do something to change your state and allow yourself to have fresh thoughts.
Force yourself to eat fruit instead of a burger, sit outside and watch a tree instead of binge-watching Netflix.
Remember that all cares are thoughts created by you. Let them go and enjoy being carefree.