I spend quite a bit of time thinking about the way that we experience and perceive the world. We spend so much time lost in our own realities that we often don’t realize that we can change them. It’s not about changing the physical things themselves – although removing things certainly does make it easier – it’s really about the way we think about the things that we perceive.
It’s how we perceive them, how we react to them and how we feel about them that really make all the difference. The most important factor in all of this is a term that we throw around regularly, yet somehow manage to look over its significance almost entirely.
Caring. We all say that we care about things, usually people, or that we simply don’t care – don’t give a sh*t. But are you fully aware of the things that you do and don’t care about? Do you realize what effect on you those decisions make?
Caring or not caring is a decision. Often at times it doesn’t seem like one. It seems almost like a natural response to that which goes on in the world around us. We experience it, we either care or don’t care, and then either feel something or don’t feel something.
Most of us don’t even realize whether or not we care – it doesn’t seem like a conscious decision – but only experience the emotional response that experiences elicit. We experience something and we feel a response, taking caring to be a part of that emotional response. But it’s not. In reality, caring is the filter that our experiences flow through before we feel anything at all. It’s not a byproduct of the emotions, but rather the reason that we have them – or don’t have them.
Caring flips some sort of switch in our brains that gives things importance. If we don’t care, we simply blow something off as being unimportant and therefore not worthy of our attention whatsoever. Caring is noticing, considering, analyzing and living in that moment.
Not caring is basically avoiding the acceptance of that thing even existing. There are those who care about almost everything, no matter how big or small, and then there are those at the exact opposite side of the spectrum, not bothering with anything at all.
Caring sounds very pleasant, but in reality we all know that that isn’t always the case. To care means to give things importance, regardless of whether they are pleasant or unpleasant, good or bad. If things are going well then the things you care about will make you happy.
If things aren’t going so well, the things that you care about will make you miserable. The real question is: Who’s got it right? Who’s living better? To not care at all is to give nothing in life importance or meaning, but to care about everything is to take on a burden too heavy to bear.
The obvious answer is to care about some things, but not others. But which things are worth caring about and which aren’t? It’s not the size of the thing that really matters because we often find pleasure and happiness in the smallest and simplest of things, not just the great big ones.
What you give importance to and choose to care about basically decides how difficult you’re life will be. Care about the wrongs things and you’re life will be unpleasant, but care about the right things and you can expect more happiness than agony.
The truth is that some things in life deserve to be allotted little to no care whatsoever. First off, the things that are out of your control should not be cared about whatsoever. This isn’t simply "easier said than done."
You are fully in control of what you do and don’t care about. Sure, habit may have treaded on our psyches for long enough to leave a smooth groove, but if you can’t learn to walk a new path then you’ll never change your life. So suck it up and make it happen – starting with paying no mind to those things that you cannot affect.
That which you can’t change or influence should be removed from thought entirely. This includes things like: most individuals and their opinions, the weather, unexpected and uncontrollable circumstances, bad luck, responsibilities that have to be accepted and cannot be handed off to another, etc. If we can’t change it then we shouldn’t allot care to it.
The more things that you care about, the more chances there are for things to go wrong and affect you in a negative way. Those things that are most prone to going wrong, such as those mentioned above, are very risky and should not be cared about. Do your best to only care about the things that are most likely to make you happy and chances are that you will be happy – primarily, those things that you have control over.
What you can influence is what you can make work, what you can make go right. We have control of more than enough things in our lives that we could focus on that would make our lives much more enjoyable and fulfilling. We have ourselves, we have the people who are closest to us, we have our passions and the work that we do, work that really can make a difference.
The trick isn’t to care about everything nor is it to care about nothing. It’s all about giving importance to those things that we can control and influence, and do our very best to guide each in the right direction. We have the ability to make a positive change – both in our lives and in the lives of others.
Care about the right things and the right people, and you will have the highest chances possible of being happy. Do yourself a favor and make caring a conscious effort and not an automatic reaction. Think before you care; you’re capable of it.
Photo via We Heart It