Caring for somebody is the ultimate form of freedom. Because every time you genuinely care for somebody else, you’re setting yourself free. Free from judging, free to accept the other one just for who she/he is, free to express your love without asking something in return.
Caring is unfortunately becoming more and more scarce in the modern world, where most of the time is perceived as a form of weakness – if not as plain stupidity. To such an extent that people almost forgot how to express it. Here are 33 ways to help you remember how to care.
Don’t just look at the other, acknowledging from a distance his actions, his intentions, his ideas. Support her/his actions. Put yourself into the other person shoes. Help that person, if you can. Say something nice, at least. Or just do things that will ease or support her/his activities. Be there somehow in flesh and bones.
2. Don’t Hold A Grudge
People say or do things that you may not like. Try to remember that all people are, actually, ok – it’s their actions that may not be in sync with what you want or with what you expect. That doesn’t mean the people who performed those actions are not worthy of your appreciation and support. On the contrary. Maybe that’s the time they’ll need you the most.
3. Give Advice Only When It’s Needed
People have their own minds, their own expectations, their own lives. Give advice only when it’s asked, otherwise you will generate the opposite effect. Your genuine intention to help will be in fact perceived as pressure. Sometimes, the best thing you can do for somebody is to let him hit his own wall.
4. Don’t Take Crap
Rejecting crap (in all of its forms: words, actions, attitudes) is not only a form of self-respect, but also a way to show the other person that you really care: “I understand you and I see what you’re doing, but I’m not supporting it”. Eventually, they’ll realize there’s something wrong somewhere. If you find it difficult to avoid crap, start practicing your “No”‘s.
Share a nice word. A good joke. A meal. A book you’ve recently read. A place on the bench in the park. Share your good mood and your ideas. Share your memories and experiences. Sharing your life with other people will enrich them while, at the same time, it will fill you with joy and comfort. Sharing IS caring.
6. Avoid Fighting
When there’s too much pressure in a relationship, that suppressed energy tends to explode uncontrollably in fights. Don’t go there. A fight is an act of selfishness: “look, I’m so pissed off that I need to let out steam and I don’t care about you”. Instead, find ways to recycle that aggressiveness and rebalance your energies.
If you received a nice word, give it back. If you received a gift, give one back. If somebody smiled at you, return the smile. If you don’t reciprocate, you break a subtle channel of energies that are building our day to day experience. Soon, you’ll be disconnected. Not able to receive or to give care anymore.
Things can break down. Relationships can lose momentum. Feelings can fade away. Everything can disappear, dissolve, get lost, unless you don’t actively protect it. Pay attention to your stuff. Fortify your relationships. Nurture you feelings. Protect what you really care for. What you give will come back to you somehow.
9. Get Out Of The Way
Sometimes you gotta understand that you’re the one that’s holding things back. You are the obstacle in the other person way. For the sake of “good old times”, or just because you’re feeling insecure. The best thing to do for somebody is to set her/him free. Get out of the way and let them break free. You’ll be ok. They’ll be ok too.
10. Say Thank You
As often as you can. There is no imaginable context in which you cannot say “thank you” when somebody does something for you. Or at least I can’t imagine such a context. Saying “thank you” is not only the simplest form of respect, but also the easiest way to show that you’re just caring.
At least as much as you talk. If you don’t listen, something strange will happen: soon you’ll run out of things to talk about. Listening is what feeds your thoughts, what triggers new ideas, what confirms your suppositions. Remember how you felt last time when somebody listened to you? That’s what I’m talking about.
If you can. Give to the other person all the freedom she/he’s asking for. Even if that freedom crosses the boundaries you’d be willing to accept. That’s the only way to find out if you’re in a healthy relationship. If you don’t have reasons to trust the other, then don’t. In this case, you will show that you care about yourself.
Forgiveness is an incredible gift. Unfortunately, it’s heavily underused. We still don’t understand the benefits of forgiveness as a mundane, daily act. We either push it into the religion realm, taking its life away by making it a dead, dogmatic concept, either avoid it all together as a social “faux pas”. Just let go. The person who’s freed by forgiveness is you.
14. Get Involved
One of the miracles of life is that you are at the same time the observer and the player in this huge game. You can watch, but you can also do. Getting involved means helping the game going on. Being just an observer and experiencing feelings of compassion will never help you genuinely care about somebody. You can’t really care if you’re not there.
15. Teach Others
If you learned something, don’t keep it to yourself. Go out and teach others. Maybe you think your life is not worthy of such an honor, maybe you think you’re just an ordinary person. And that might be true. But there are millions of ordinary persons in this world who can benefit from your experience.
Sometimes all you have to do is to live a life of freedom. Live the adventure, become extraordinaire and others will pick up. It’s called inspiration. Focus on what you do best and in the end, other people will tune in to your vibration and start to do extraordinaire stuff by themselves. Be a great blogger a super parent or just you. But be great at being you.
If inspiration is not enough, don’t be afraid to push it further, to motivate directly. Motivation does not last, they say, but so it’s bathing. This is why is recommended to be done every day (Zig Ziglar said that, not me). Make a list of what motivates you and share it. You’ll be surprised how many people will care about it.
18. Pay Attention
To what the other one is doing. Just look at how he talks, how he looks, what actions he performs. Your attitude will channel a flow of invisible energy which will somehow validate and support her/him. Your attention, your focus, is what builds your reality. Putting your focus on the other one will make her/him alive.
It’s not only about birthdays or special days from your shared history. Although those are utterly important too, of course. But it’s also about what the other one likes or doesn’t likes. About what she/he thinks about certain things. Remembering all those details is like reinforcing your commitments: “I know and I accept what you want”.
20. Pay Yourself First
Might seem totally counter intuitive and awfully against this post topic. But it’s not. A mindless altruism is the shortest path to decay. Don’t give away your time, your actions or yourself foolishly. Instead, be well so you can help others be well too. Be balanced so you can bring balance to others too. Be self sustained so you can help others achieve self-sustainability too.
21. Be Patient
In everything. Real things are not unfolding instantly, they need time to grow, to manifest. Be patient with the other one if she/he is going through some tough times. It will help getting over the heat. Be patient with the other one if she/he is on the peak of its career. It will make the happy days taste even better.
22. Give Feedback
All the time, in all the imaginable situations. Say out loud you liked or didn’t liked something, but give feedback. As the name implies, feedback will feed something. In this case, the actual relationship. If you don’t care about a relationship, the easiest way to break it is to stop giving feedback. It will die a slow and painful death.
23. Ignore The Unimportant
Too much time and attention are wasted on useless, not important things. Either by uncontrollable addiction, either by lack of personal values. Ignore what’s unimportant about the other one until you get to her/his real, indivisible core. That’s where you should put the attention. Learning to ignore should be taught in schools.
24. Surprise Him/Her
Break the flow of the predictable events in her/his life with small surprises. Might be just an unexpected end of the evening or a sudden trip to the countryside. Surprises are a way to fracture the other one familiar reality and fill the crack with pleasant, enjoyable life slices. The bigger the surprise, the more enjoyable the life slice…
25. Think Nicely About Her/Him
You do what you repeatedly tell yourself to do. Your actions are a direct consequences of your thoughts. If you keep having supportive thoughts about the other one, your actions will eventually follow. The root of everything you do or experience is in your thoughts. Don’t let them wander aimlessly.
26. Make Plans Together
Making plans will always make God laugh, that’s true. But that doesn’t mean you should stop doing them. On the contrary, you should keep God laughing for as much as you can, wouldn’t you? 😉 Projecting a new reality together is an incredibly powerful form of caring. You may never be there, in that new reality, but at least your tried together.
Ask questions. Respond to questions. Say yes or no. But do talk. Keep the communication channels open. Don’t think the other one should guess what you want, what you need or what you may want to happen in your life. Give clear answers, and ask clear questions. An honest, uncomfortable truth shows more care than a comfortable, but deceiving silence.
As often as you can. There are persons who are somehow killing your smile before it’s even born. With pessimism, anger or just constant irony and arrogance. Smile in their presence even more, regardless of the fact that it will take incredibly more effort from you. Smiling is the cheapest and most effective act of caring.
29. Write A Letter
Doesn’t necessarily have to be a full letter. Leave a note on the fridge. Send a short email out of the blue. The message itself doesn’t have to be something deep, or serious or fundamental. Just a simple “wish you a good day” or “I’m thinking at you” will do miracles. Start now. 🙂
30. Cook For Her/Him
Sharing food used to be an ecstatic and spiritual experience. Traces of this my be found in our modern society, when inviting somebody over to dinner has most of the time hidden meanings. Again, doesn’t have to be an exotic meal, but the mere fact of feeding the other one will trigger some deeply buried feelings of security and comfort.
31. Give A Present Out Of The Blue
Giving presents is a great way to mark special occasions, but giving presents out of the blue will make any occasion a special one. The only thing you should pay attention to is not to buy your way to the other one’s heart, because it wouldn’t last long. But a genuine, carefully taught present, will always leave a positive mark.
32. Criticize. Constructively
If you don’t agree with something, speak up. Maybe the other one doesn’t realize that her/his path is a wrong one. If you sense something bad, it’s not only an act of kindness to point (politely and gently) to the other one’s mistakes, but also a respected act of responsibility. An honest and good critique always ends up with a “thank you”.
33. Eliminate Expectations
People are people. Don’t act like they follow a certain algorithm. They will never do. People are doing strange things. They will surprise you, amaze you or disappoint you. Eliminate all expectations and just be happy because you share this moment, this place or this life. Life is not fair sometimes, that’s true. But it’s always beautiful.