Showing You Care vs Caring

Showing You Care vs Caring

How do you know someone cares? They remember your birthday, they call for no reason, they think about you, they take care of you, they put you first, they help you feel special...?

While intellectually I knew the difference between caring and showing it, some part of me couldn't tell the two apart. How did I know? I felt guilty for forgetting a birthday or even a name, not calling friends and family except when I had a reason, etc. When I didn't do things that showed I care, I was afraid it meant I was someone who didn't care.

The inability to tell something you do from something you are is a big clue to a collapsed concept.

My simple explanation for it is this: It goes back to the early childhood years of brain development when we learn the word for an abstract concept before we have the capacity for abstract thought. So what do we do? We stick it onto something we know in the physical world of "doing" - we associate the word with an action, feeling or experience. Ever wonder why people define themselves by what they do? That's why.

"Doing" = "being" is our earliest level of thinking and still unconsciously runs the show even when intellectually we know we are not what we do.

In my case, after talking with my daughter Colleen who was wrestling with the same issue, I realized that my collapse was "thinking about" or "remembering" = "caring." Given that, it follows that "not thinking about" or "not remembering" = "not caring."

A good test to see if something is really true or just an association that was true once but then got generalized is to ask yourself if it is ALWAYS true. This question alone can result in a breakthrough.

So I asked myself, "Does 'thinking about' or 'remembering' ALWAYS mean 'caring?'" Not really. I think about a lot of things I don't really care about, and many I don't even like.

Likewise, "Does 'caring' ALWAYS show up as 'thinking about' or 'remembering?'" No. It shows up in many ways, those are just two possibilities.

When your childhood brain latches onto a false truth like "thinking about/remembering" (substitute your preferred proof here) = "caring," your personal growth path is set. Somehow inside, you know you really are a caring person, so you begin to struggle against the belief. You feel guilty, become defensive and have resentful thoughts like, "I shouldn't need to prove this! They should just know..." While those thoughts keep you from naturally expressing it, or keep you from enjoying it when you do because it feels like you "have to," they also serve as your way to keep this challenge in front of you until you get that you are right!

Simply put, your belief is the communication that must be heard.

You can SAY WHAT YOU SEE yourself thinking, and like all communications, as soon as you hear it, "You think 'thinking about someone' or 'remembering them' IS 'caring,'" and realize that you can’t tell the two apart, they break apart. Poof! Pressure's off. You find you were right all along. You don't have anything to prove.

And when the pressure's off, guess what you do? You actually express caring more often and more naturally, knowing it is not a measure of who you are, but simply something you like to do - sometimes.

But the best part is, your breakthroughs also translate into new reactions to what others do or don't do. When someone doesn't call or remember your birthday, it no longer means they don't care about you! It's more likely that they are preoccupied with something else, or are struggling with the same false truth. You step into a world where the real Truth is that regardless what people do or don't do, or believe or don't believe, it's in their nature to care. It's part of the gift of our humanity, and given the right circumstances, it will shine through.

You can create those circumstance for yourself and others by listening for their greatness. That's what Eva and I do in our coaching and classes. If you would like to learn more about how to do this for your children and yourself, check out our online classes or sign up for our private coaching. We would love to help you take the pressure off of yourself, too.

Meanwhile, we would love to hear from you. How do you know someone cares?

1 Comment

  1. Betsy |

    I know I’ve always used thoughtfulness and forgiveness/understanding as a gauge of how much someone cares.
    It’s what people refer to as “the little things”–hearing them say what their favorite candy is at one point and then getting it for them at another time.
    Forgiveness is a huge one for me because I tend to mess up (and “expose” my terrible “true” self) by forgetting birthdays or double-booking and having to cancel on someone. So the friends who have always known, even when I didn’t, that just because I don’t always SHOW I care, doesn’t mean I don’t care, are the best friends for me.

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