There are a few basics steps we can follow that will help us truly care for other people. It’s a very powerful thing to do for another.
There are actually a few basic steps that we can go through that will help us truly care for other people, which is a very powerful thing to do for another.
Can you remember a time when you shared something with someone, something personal that you were going through and you were able to sense that the other person didn’t really care? They acted like they cared, they said things that demonstrated care, but you knew that they didn’t really care.
One of the ways that I really learn about where I need to improve is when I look at experiences that have affected me and how I felt about them and then I ask myself, well, how am I in such a situation? So in the context of caring, when someone shares something they’re going through, how much do I really care about what they’re going through? I’m not talking about showing the other person that I care, I’m talking about truly caring. Because showing someone that you care, while it’s better than not showing at all but, ultimately, where we are at really always comes through. And if we truly do not care or we care to some extent but we’re not truly engaged in what they’re going through, then the person knows at what level we’re at with them.
And wouldn’t it be beautiful if we gave others what we wish we would get from others, that when we’re going through something and we’re sharing with them that they’re really attentive and that they really feel for us? And in the case where they can actually do something about it, they would do something about it.
Someone tells me that they lost their job. That is frightening. And the question is, how much do I feel the fear and the concern that they are feeling? Is there something I can do to help them? Not just an off‑the‑cuff question of can I do something to help them but to actually take a few minutes to think about whether there is a way I can help them.
Someone tells me that they’re lonely. What can I do about that? Maybe I can find someone to put them together with that they can spend time with, which would be a mutually beneficial relationship. Have I even given time and effort to thinking and brainstorming? Am I feeling the pain of their loneliness?
Someone tells me they’re ill, they’re sick, right. So these things are all things that can be dismissed very easily or they are things that we can take a few moments to really put ourselves in their shoes, to the best of our ability, and not only feel what they’re going through, which is very very important, but to actually care enough to do something about it. Not just the classic proverbial, so sorry to hear that, I hope things are going to improve or whatever it may be.
Now, it’s not always about doing something because sometimes we truly cannot do anything for them. Often all people really need for us is to truly emotionally care, that we really care about what they’re going through and they can feel that we are really hoping that this is going to be resolved for them. Because often the person themselves can fix their problem but they still need the emotional support that we all need when we’re going through something.
And this always comes from caring, when we have that friend or that family member who truly takes the time to care. And caring is not easy. Because we all have a lot going on in our lives, it requires a mental and emotional focus. And as with everything, mental focus means I have to take my mental focus away from myself so that I can be thinking about another person. Emotional focus means I have to stop thinking and even caring for these few moments about myself and to put my full emotional focus on the other person because this is always the obstacle.
It’s that common thought that pops up the moment someone is sharing something with me. And that is, how is this going to affect me? How much time is this going to cost me? How much money is this going to cost me?
We have a nature of turning everything that goes on in our lives into how it reflects about ourselves. And as long as we are thinking about how it reflects us, we cannot possibly truly care for the other person.
There are actually a few basic steps that we can go through that will help us truly care for other people, which is a very powerful thing to do for another. Number one is to simply be aware. Awareness is the most powerful thing. So if someone is sharing something with me and I am consumed by something going on in my own life or I don’t want to be bothered by their issue, the first and most important thing is to be aware of this, to simply acknowledge that I’m too caught up in myself to want to care about the other person. And once we have that awareness, we can actually do something about it, even though we’re not yet really truly caring. Because the second step is to ask ourselves, if I wasn’t thinking about myself and I was truly thinking about them and caring about them, what would I do? What would I do if I was truly caring about them?
So I’m telling myself, true, I don’t really care, but what would I do if I did care? Or, another question would be, in reverse but accomplishing the same thing, if you were in that situation that they are in, what would you want them to do for you? And now you have something tangible that you know can be done, which would be a genuine expression of care. And, of course, Step Number 3 is do that. Even though you may not emotionally be there, you may not be feeling the care, but you are in enough control of yourself that you can get yourself to do what you should do for them even though you’re not emotionally there. And you will find that as you go through this process, your emotions will come along with you. And you will be training yourself to be a person that learns to truly care for someone else.
And you will become a rare and much-needed presence in the lives of other people. And you will also be connecting to people on the truest level, where you meet them, not where they meet you.