I’ve heard people say, “You care too much”. I always smile to myself when I remember those times. How can someone care too much? Is there a set amount of care we should devote ourselves to, and then after that, it’s too much? I’m a person who gets affected – deeply affected – by wrongdoing, by witnessing injustice, by seeing people being unkind. It hurts me as if it were happening to me, I feel it so deeply. It’s just who I am. I don’t have a switch that I can turn on and off with regards to care.
This comes directly from my Gran: I distinctly remember her, several times, getting so upset by something she’d seen, she’d cry (small, soft tears to herself) and would be so concerned, she’d have to get involved, whatever the cost to herself. One time, we were in the market. She saw a mother shouting at her little daughter, pulling her along, fair launching in to this beautiful little girl. My Gran ran across to where they were and said, lightheartedly, to the Mum, “Calm down, you’re in such a rush, calm down, let your daughter get her breath”. The woman then launched in to a tirade against my Gran, swearing, telling her not to “…stick your nose in it, lady”.
My Gran bent down, eye to eye with the little girl and offered her a sweet (my sweet, but I wasn’t worried, I knew she was showing me something important, I was in awe). The little girl stretched out her hand, timidly, and took the sweet. The mother started shouting again, that my Gran had no business doing that, no business rewarding her daughter’s bad behaviour. My Gran – serenely – replied, “You have no business showing your daughter your bad behaviour. You should think a little more about that” and she walked off. A stall holder, who’d seen everything that happened, raced across to my Gran, “You care too much, you do, that’s your problem, you care too much”.
I don’t think it’s possible to care too much. It’s possible to misplace how you direct your care, but caring too much, I don’t think so.
I actually think the opposite. It’s because we don’t care enough that bad things are allowed to happen, to propagate, to multiply, to take over. If more people spoke up when they see – feel – injustices, perhaps, over time, there’d be fewer injustices. If people cared enough to not be horrible or unkind or to let their unkind thoughts out in to the world, then the world would be that much brighter, that much more bearable for those who are at the mercy of these unkind thoughts and words. Caring, kindness, after all, starts at home. With yourself.
I’m a hopeless romantic but I’m also realistic: I know this is ‘pie in the sky’ thinking but I love to imagine. A world where everyone cares enough, where everyone can bloom because their environment is kind, not hostile, because their surroundings allow them to believe in possibility, infinite possibilities.
Wouldn’t that be simply wonderful?