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Monday, September 24, 2012

Love Equals Caring as much as Caring Equals Love

Let’s make a distinction about love. There’s the romantic love that is felt between two people, the love of your children, family and friends. But caring encompasses a broader sense of love in that it’s the love of all that is. It’s the love of life and everything we experience in it.

We show kindness and caring to one another through the simple act of opening a door for someone, asking how someone is doing and actually listening to their response, even cleaning up after yourself so that others won’t have to deal with your mess.  These are but a few of the everyday acts of caring that we demonstrate to one another. The capacity to care and be cared for is a human strength. It’s what connects us to one another.

When you don’t demonstrate care to others consistently, life loses its color and connection. You may end up feeling less engaged with those around you. If you’re not making a point to be caring of others in your life, the people around you don’t feel cared for, love, appreciated, respected or engaged by you at the heart level. When this happens they may contact you less frequently, trust you less, buy from you less, and leave you more. It’s an easy formula to figure out: care more, connect more.

Our drive for caring, in a broad sense, makes us feel that we are safe, worthy, and loved, through our own actions and the actions of others, we are cared for.  Caring is something you do and receive.

Of all the human drives, caring seems to get the least attention. Instead, caring’s sexier sister, Love, gets all the attention, despite the fact that it’s probably impossible to feel or demonstrate love without caring.  Plus you likely wouldn’t be kind if you didn’t care. Kindness, caring, love - as you can see they’re all connected.   

We’re all hardwired to demonstrate care for others. Our brains are remarkably well equipped biologically to relate to and care for others’ emotions and experiences. What that means is our brains are built to mimic that which we see and feel in others. It’s why when you walk into a room you pick up the energy of the room and your brain starts to mimic it whether it’s a sad or happy occasion. The more we experience that state and behavior the more we start to mimic it. So if we constantly see others behaving a certain way our brains will likely tell us to mimic that behavior. It’s a key reason why kids smoke when others smoke, why infants smile when their moms smile, and why so many of us yawn or feel impatient when someone else does. We feel what we see.

Caring is more than just a nice action. It’s the basis for our human existence and experience and the foundation that makes love possible.

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