It’s cool to care. A good friend of mine told me this, in a situation where I felt that caring is a burden. It complicates life, it makes us feel stupid, and generally, even if only unsaid, it is labeled „uncool”.

For what reason?

When a celebrity couple breaks up and we see one of them out and about, living life as if nothing happened, we think, good for them. They have moved on already, they avoided the sadness, the grief, inviting potential happiness into their lives as fast as they could. That’s cool.

Taking this example, maybe the answer is that living life reasonably is cool. It makes sense to move on as soon as possible. It is essentially for our own good, if you will. Having an easy time moving abroad and leaving our friends behind, staying positive after losing a job or failing a class, even if they are not conscious choices and you are just a person who’s naturally able not to care, seems like these things are in your favor.

It’s also a generally negative experience to be the one who cares more than another person or other people in a certain setting. To be the one who cares more about a friendship or a relationship sucks. We like to maintain a balance in caring so that it’s equal, upkeeping a homeostasis of feelings, where we are always monitoring the level of care of the others and regulate our own based on the results.

The amount of times I said the phrase „let me care less then” hurts my soul. Let me not give you all this care, because I’d still rather choose the pain of withholding than not having it reciprocated. Ouchie.

So we try not to care as much as we can. But what is the price of that?
I feel it might be a bit otherwordly, hard to describe and hard to grasp, when I try to answer the question. We pay the price of being true to ourselves. We lose depth, potential, we devalue feelings, risks, and worst of all, we become used to it so much, we don’t even think twice anymore.

I started looking at caring as a negative feeling. Something I give and something I withhold, a currency, a weapon that’s capable of hurting me or others. Something I can control, something that helps me have control. Something that’s uncool to have too much of.

„I don’t care that much.”

„It’s okay if you do.”

Not a lot of people say that. Made me stop in my rush towards solving a conflict. I was all about getting it done with the least amount of collateral damage. As I usually do. Withholding care is my weapon, or maybe my shield in this case. It’s not even a conscious choice, but it’s an obvious choice.

I wish I didn’t care. I’m training myself not to care, I’m trying to get myself used to it, because it’s the better way. And all of a sudden someone tells me it’s no way at all. There are no ways other than what naturally comes to you. Fighting this way, training yourself out of it is the worst way you could go.

Caring is deep and heavy sometimes. It demands our time and energy. If in that conflict I chose the path where I care, it was gonna take more than if I had just skipped over it. But then again, whenever I chose the latter option, I was left feeling a bit empty, with an unfinished business and a lot of tucked away feelings.

So I am not doing that. And I end up crying, crying so much. Waking up and going to sleep with a heavy mind. A pain in my chest when I miss them. Writing about it. Being honest about it. Yes, it does suck, and it does make me question things I haven’t questioned before, it makes me uncomfortable, it makes me feel bad.
It makes me feel the truth. And it’s important to know the truth.

I have a hard time caring about myself though. Funnily enough, this same person made me realize that I should care more. I remember thinking, „if someone else can care about me and my feelings this much, why can’t I? If this person respects them and treats them as something normal, why don’t I?”.

It’s hard not to fall in love with someone like that.
Doesn’t take much does it? Someone who listens and asks, cares and shows it too. Basically. So is that the key to self love? Listening to yourself, caring about yourself and showing yourself this care? And isn’t it true love if they help you learn to love yourself? But maybe I should continue caring about these feelings - if I learned anything, it’s this. Being honest and authentic is self love. Sharing it with someone is caring. It doesn’t have to be good or bad, it doesn’t have to matter where they stand, what the outcome will be. It’s essentially holding it out in the palm of my hand towards them and saying, this is me. I want you to know me. Even if it’s not what you hoped for, but I can’t make it into something it’s not.

Caring is a losing game in the end. Giving it up against the natural flow of things. Surrendering to truths and real feelings. Choosing the harder path in order to remain authentic. Learn to care about yourself. I am learning too, and it wasn’t even easy to find a reason why. I needed another person’s care for that. We need each other’s care too.

It is cool to care. Care as much as you need, as much as you have, not for reciprocity, not to control, but for itself.