You can’t care about everything.
You aren’t supposed to.
And yet, a hundred times a day, you’re asked to care about something. Many things. You’re asked to care about a thing that deserves care. You’re dared to care about a thing not enough people seem to care about. You’re urged to care about dozens of things that simply don’t require your care.
It’s exhausting. It’s depleting. And it’s impossible to maintain.
Today, I want to encourage you to care about what you deeply-truly care about.
And I want to introduce you to the idea of limiting the scope and focus of your caring so that what you care about the most can receive all the caring it deserves.
The things that don’t really, deeply, truly matter to you? It’s tough. It takes discipline. But we ought to let them go.
Restricting Your Caring is a Form of Self-Discipline
If you’re a naturally caring person, the idea of limiting your caring can feel really uncomfortable. Because we understand in our hearts that caring equals good. Caring is an expression of love that arises from awareness, consideration and a general desire for others to be well. Right? It’s true. Except that caring too broadly about too many things diffuses the power and effectiveness of your care.
The more and more you try to care about, the less you can care about.
If that weren’t enough, your care isn’t instantly regenerated.
The ability to care may be infinite, but the energy to care can run out.
Caring is like a reservoir. It can be depleted if it isn’t cherished, preserved, allowed to refill. And that’s dangerous. Because if your caring runs dry, you can’t take care of yourself. You can’t care for your biggest priorities. You can’t offer care and support to those precious few in your tribe who really deserve your care.
So this isn’t about caring less.
It’s about caring for your caring, more.
Just Say No to What Doesn’t (Ever) Deserve Your Care
Just in the course of your everyday life, from weekly To-Do Lists to checking your work email and sorting through choices at the supermarket, you’re bombarded with things that beg you to care about them.
Some are necessary evils (like work emails following us wherever we go), some are just products of consumer life (like sifting through 40 mustard brands and styles).
And yet, some energy-squanderers we can easily solve for.
Did you know that care-baiting distractions are believed to literally drain your brain’s energy reserves? That means every popup and noise on your iPhone makes your brain incrementally tired and less effective at doing what it is you truly care about. Plus, when your energy gets low, the bio-response of your brain is to crave sugar. Have you ever drifted towards something sweet when you’re multitasking?
See what happens when you prune down the distractions down to an absolute minimum.
Did you know you can disable those sounds and notifications on your phone or computer? If you spend a lot of time there, that’s a great start.
I always have my phone’s ringer and sounds muted. Always, forever. If I miss a call, I can call back. No App I use is so urgent that I need a sound to respond to it — and I only allow limited pop up notifications.
My phone doesn’t exist to tell me what to care about. And it won’t help me figure out what I care most about, either.
Remember: You have permission to not care about everything.
You are allowed to be opinion-less about a thing (many things, most things) even if others seem to care about it. You’re not expected to do all the caring for everyone.
It’s not your job. It’s not why you’re here. You don’t have anything to prove. Instead?
You have permission to focus your care into what absolutely matters to you. Care about what you care about. What you deeply care about. (If it matters to you, that’s enough. No defense or explanation required.)
Trust that others will do their part to care about what they care about, so you don’t have to.
This is how humans work together. Harmony. Balance. Symbiosis. This is our nature.
“But, Dave,” you may be asking, “how can I be sure that I’m caring about what matters most to me?”
If you’re kinda stuck trying to pinpoint exactly where to focus your caring these days, you could probably use some time in self-observation and reflection to help you uncover it.
If that’s you, I’ve got a free journaling initiative for the next two months that I think will help.
It’s called My Summer of Writing.
My Summer of Writing is a free 8-week journaling program that gives you writing prompts to develop a healthier relationship to yourself — and whatever it is you care about the most.
This isn’t about filling a certain number of pages, or writing a book someday, or up-selling you on a course.
My Summer of Writing is about expressing yourself. Heightening your intrinsic ability to reflect. And carving out the space to observe what you’re thinking, feeling, and why.
As you know, I’m a writer. I journal almost-daily. It centers and guides me. I also teach self-expression to help people commune with their True Self. That’s why I’ll be sending readers a simple email every Sunday morning with a small batch of new writing prompts that intend to help you get into healthier relationship to your inner voice, awareness, and sense of Self.
I think you’ll love them, and I think they’ll help you clarify what you ought to care about most nowadays.
- If you want to play this summer, click here and plug in your email address.
By writing it out, you become witness to yourself. By writing it out, you begin to curate the story of your life as you live it. The better you know yourself, the better you can commune with your truth, and the easier it is to eliminate distractions, replenish your caring, and to act accordingly.
Click here to sign up for My Summer of Writing (or to share it with a friend, your partner, or your local writers’ group).