Who Cares?

Roughly a year ago, my phone number was added to a directory of home owners in the North Carolina area. And every couple of weeks from that point on, I would receive a call from someone looking to purchase “my” property.

“I am sorry , but I am not the owner of that home (or any other for that matter). I am not sure how my number became tied to that residence, but I would truly appreciate if you could let me know where you got my information so I can fix it.”

And every time, the individual on the line would hang up and leave me hung out to dry until yet another potential buyer gets their hopes up on what seems like a steal of a property. I think to myself, why would someone else care to help me if it has no benefit to them whatsoever? More importantly, how does that experience influence my future response when placed in the same position? 

Care is something you control. You decide to care enough to say hello to a stranger, check on an old friend, or treat yourself. It is an epitomizing act of kindness. But, there is a dissonance when that care is taken for granted, overlooked, and ultimately not reciprocated. People emotionally stumble when there is an expectation for others to care just as much as they do. Over time, the constant let downs snowball into a frustration or even worse, a fear. And this amplified emotion is somehow connected to our worth as a human being and even stunts the growth of action. With a fear that caring “too much” will hurt you, you hold the care that you have to give close to the vest.

Of all the things you can give that care to, you invest it in what others think of you. As a kid, you don’t even have a choice in the environment you start out in. You are at the mercy of whatever socioeconomic status your parent(s) could piece together just as their parent(s) did for them. And just a clarifying point, money is not directly correlated to the amount those in proximity care about you. You alter your dialect, behavior, and even dreams to appease those that don’t have your best interest. Why? Because others are fighting the same battle. You may find yourself in one of these silos where those inside are plotting their great escape. The success of your own shines a light on the complacency of others, so they pull you back down into the hole of jealously, self-doubt, and malicious intent. Like a rubber band, the further you pull out of the crowd, the more resistance others give because they are not willing (or scared) to change themselves.

Just like that, all the care that we had saved up is spent on things personified with “likes” on social media or the materialistic jargon of fake friends. This false sense of care pacifies us just long enough for life to go by. And when we get any care from anywhere, we go and cash it out immediately as if we need the instant gratification and shallow approval of others. In an attempt to fill this gap of importance, we lose the control we once had of care as it is overrun by these new false senses from others. And once this impostor that calls itself care is unmasked,  we lose trust in caring for anything, including ourselves. 

In short, things get ugly fast.

Care: v: To feel concern or interest; attach importance to something.

When we fail to care about ourselves, we lose the ability to think of our growth potential and focus on the lives of others. Whether through reality TV or Instagram influencers, we vicariously live through others in hopes to get their same high. We question everything that went wrong in our lives up until that point and beat the figurative dead horse in our imagination. Any lack of action leads us to internally assuming the worst. The abyss of self pity is an awful thing for the mind to wander into alone. Yet, many find symptoms of depression as we are in search for where we fit into the bigger scheme of things. Depression leaves us paralyzed from the neck up. A vicious cycle forms where the less we do, the more damage is done internally. 

So what do you do?

You muster ever ounce of care that you have at that moment and start investing it into you. That’s right, YOU care. You care about yourself because you are one of a kind with the potential to change the lives around you. You speak self affirmations that will breathe life into the dreams you look to make a reality. You work to dilute all the negativity in your life by only entertaining positive measures. You take back control of your life so that you can effectively live it. That’s right, I am taking away any excuse that you can make right now from bettering yourself. Give yourself at least this credit and see how far you fly.

When taking ownership of your care and putting yourself first, you can automatically dispel toxic relationships, unplug from miserable media, and selectively make a difference. Caring about yourself enough today won’t be enough though. The power of care comes when it is compounded day after day. This compounded interest in yourself will pay off greatly. THEN, once you have enough saved up, you can start investing in others. Just like charity, you begin to realize that care is something that you give with no expectation of something in return. The careless population grows every day, but you will be strong enough for you and them. 

Things really get interesting when you throw good out into the world and get good back. Yep. You find others who care just as much as you if not more. If you struggled to get out of one silo, strength in numbers will break any walls and build many bridges around you. Those in close quarters want to be better individuals because of you and care starts to cascade from the foundation you built. Apathy becomes the minority and shrink perceptions of doubt and denial. People start to go out of their way to make the same impression that you did all because you chose to take action. The world may not be perfect, but it sure is better than before you started. I will tell you right now that “better” in the form of confidence, impact, and even a life counts for something. And all of this happened because who cared? You.

It was recently where I leveraged one of my expected unexpected calls to ask what the home owner was looking for. I wanted to hear about their family and where they saw this house fitting into the bigger picture. Although I was not able to help at the time with a solution, the thought that I placed on what they cared about prompted them to help me. After 14 months, I was eventually able to resolve my home buying crisis and in return learned a valuable lesson. If you expect others to care, you must care about others first. And if you expect to care about others, you must first care about you. And you can take that to the bank.



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