When you’re born, you have no idea that your time as a tiny, innocent being has already started running out. You have no idea that your body and heart are capable of being bruised and broken, both figuratively and literally.
You come into this life with your own characteristics, physical traits, opportunities, and struggles. These change and evolve as you grow, as you make mistakes, and as you learn from your own experiences and those of others.
In one moment, you’re a kid making your first friend, and in another you’re learning what it feels like to lose a friend.
In one moment, you’re laughing so hard you can barely breathe, and in another you’re learning what it feels like to be laughed at.
In one moment, you’re on cloud nine, falling in love for the first time, and in another you feel a heaviness in your heart you could have never imagined you were capable of feeling.
But, these kinds of things happen. They happen to all of us. And when they do, we make choices.
We can choose to put walls up to protect ourselves. We can choose to focus on money over morals. We can choose to “give less f*cks.”
Or, we can cut the crap.
We can protect ourselves without closing ourselves off. We can choose people over profit. We can care less about caring more.
It’s easy to realize that the latter is the way to go, but for most people it’s not easy to actively choose to live with those principles every day. To that I say: Maybe so. But, nothing will be more difficult than lying on your deathbed and knowing your life wasn’t filled with the kind of meaning, love, and authenticity that it could have been filled with.
So, let’s care more. About the big things, that is. Our well-being. Other people’s well-being. Love. The environment. Freedom. Equality. Let’s care so much about these things that we barely even think about the little things. “Likes.” Traffic. Oversleeping. Someone wearing something we don’t particularly like. An embarrassing moment. We can give less f*cks about the little things.
Let’s put ourselves out there, even when it’s scary. Let’s connect with people, nature, and the universe on deep levels. Let’s love hard, no matter how much we’ve hurt others or been hurt by others. Let’s not allow our scars, whether physical, mental, or emotional, to manifest themselves as negative thoughts and ideas that hold us back.
Unfortunately, we live in a time when people seem to care more about “likes” than loyalty. We have so much social media and so many methods of communication at our fingertips that people have a false sense of connection. We’re more connected than we’ve ever been in terms of technology but more disconnected than we’ve ever been in terms of humanity.
And then there’s the combination of technology and hardship, which can be tragic. Technology and hardship, especially combined, make it easier for people to hide than to face the world and live with truth, purpose, confidence, and love.
We all have experiences in our lives that scar us in one way or another. We all have moments of pain and weakness, and we don’t have to spend our lives apologizing for them. But, we also shouldn’t spend our lives hiding from them. We need to care enough about ourselves and others to put in more effort. To learn from our mistakes. To do right after we’ve done wrong. To keep moving forward. We can’t run or hide or bow out in the name of protecting ourselves and/or others. After all, the more we make decisions with protection and security in the forefront of our minds, the less protection and security we have.
That isn’t to say that we should all live carelessly and follow danger wherever it may lead. Not at all. However, if your mindset is so much about self-protection and pain avoidance that you’re not allowing yourself to be vulnerable, you’re doing yourself a huge disservice.
Pain is unavoidable, and you never know exactly when it will find you. If you spend your life ready to push it away, you’re going to miss out on incredible people, moments, and connections. There’s certain strength and courage that comes from allowing yourself to be vulnerable, and no one should miss out on that in the name of security. At the end of the day, following security is simply taking the easy route, and that route doesn’t exist. If it does exist, it gets us nowhere.
It’s easy to sit behind your phone swiping left and right, maybe having a casual conversation here and there. What takes real effort is joining a new class or finding a new hobby and asking the interesting person across from you on a real date.
It’s easy to “like” articles and posts that represent how you feel without you having to express yourself at all. What takes real effort is actually expressing yourself. Writing your own article. Posting your own photo. Making your own video.
It’s easy to say, “No, I’m good,” and stay inside with food and Netflix because you don’t feel like showering and rushing to get ready when someone asks you to go out with little notice. What takes real effort is making a phone call. Making plans ahead of time. Being on time. Really showing up and being present without your phone in your hands every second.
“Easy” is okay sometimes, but it shouldn’t describe the majority of anyone’s life. In fact, it can’t. Not only does this path—the “easy” path—have an expiration date, but it also will never lead to genuine success and fulfillment. The only path that will lead there is the one filled with hard work and real connection.
So, care more. Put in the work. Make the connections.
Whoever said that it’s cool to not care, or to act like you don’t care, was a fool. Caring is important. It’s crucial. We all do it, and there’s no point in pretending we don’t.
We just need to check in with ourselves and make sure what we’re choosing to care most about serves us, grows us, and makes us happy.