There have been times in my life that if you were looking closely, you would wonder what if, anything, I was thinking. It would appear on close examination that I didn’t care about much of anything…or anyone, most especially myself.
I am confronted again, as this year comes to a close, how very much I am here again. Wondering how I can care more about the people and beings in my life that really matter to me. How to care more deeply and authentically…and why, why do I struggle so much with this concept, again, most especially in relation to myself.
I have always been cared for, my parents did a great job raising me and loving me and always, always caring for me. One might think that a good upbringing would be enough, but it hasn’t been. Despite my well cared for status, I have routinely and habitually sought out ways to hurt myself, and others. Never can I forget about the others.
However, as 2021 draws to a close, I am doing what I always do, going inward. It is my thing, I guess. I cannot help reflecting on the year past and seeing all the ways that I cared and didn’t. This year I am being given a pretty brutal view of how much I am not caring for myself and others in some pretty basic ways. It isn’t very pretty. And I would really, really like to look the other way but what stops me is the knowledge that if I do look the other way, this lack of care taking will persist, perhaps maybe even flourish. And I am old enough now to know that isn’t really ok anymore.
So as I wind down the year, I think of intentions for the coming year. I think of the person I would like to grow into next year. Who I would like to be and how I would like to show up for those I love. And I know, that developing a deeper level of caring will be at the core of the work that I do.
For me, I think anyway, that caring is going to be about slowing down and spending more time at home, alone. Or just being more idle. I am tired as the year wanes, feeling kind of like the moon and all its phases all year long. Seems kind of exhausting to me. All the changing and changing and changing. But I also see that it is an evolution, the phases are not simply repeated over and over again…they are happening in an order but there is much that goes on that is not revealed on the surface. I feel like that.
I hate the term self care because it has become so closely linked with people who use it as a weapon or a manipulative tool that renders the results really not very caring at all. Caring is defined as simply “displaying a kindness and concern.” To whom it is directed is almost immaterial. To me, caring really has so very much to do with intention. And I will be the first one to admit that I am not, and this has been a historic issue, been all that caring about others which is grossly representative in how I care for myself…which at times was non-existent.
It is a high hurdle for me to get over because if one really cares it isn’t merely a display, it is an action that is repeated over and over again that exudes a fundamental existence of loving kindness. I need some work here. And the good news, is that I will and can work on the level and extent of my caring…towards all beings, to include myself.