What the world needs now is love, sweet love.
Modern people are constantly told to not give a fuck. There’s even a book I parodied the title of this week’s post of off. People love to not give a fuck…but still expect people to give a fuck about them! Now, I’m not ignorant of the time and place for such an attitude, but I think people use it as an excuse to continue poor behaviour and not reflect upon their actions and especially their impact on others.
So, why don’t people care?
The reasons why people don’t care are long and varied and is a multi-faceted and complex question. For example, it can relate to the quality or the quantity (or lack thereof) of the care, it can surround the nature of things or people subject to the care (or lack thereof) – the who and the how, if you will. In brief, people don’t care because:
· Lack of trust, communication, understanding, interest and empathy.
· They are egocentric, selfish, judgmental and/or narcissistic.
· They are overwhelmed and have enough to deal with of their own. They are themselves struggling and are in need of care.
· They do not possess the emotional and cognitive capacity to do so. Can tie to previous point.
· They haven’t had their needs and wants met. Also ties to point three.
· They have concerns of being taken advantage of and/or not being respected or have the efforts reciprocated.
· Their lives are super busy and/or don’t want to put in the time or have poor time management.
· They feel wronged (perceived or actual) by the thing or person or group they’re asked to care for.
Whilst I don’t expect the above list to be exhaustive, it does cover a lot of potential reasons. You may have also heard people talk of Eastern vs Western Philosophy, which the East is more based around the idea of the group whereas the West is more centred on the individual. Now, there are pros and cons of each style of philosophy and that is a separate conversation in itself, but there are examples of us here in the West of focusing a little too much on ourselves and not enough on others. However, in defence, I think we need to practice a little more self-compassion.
That’s the thing with caring and compassion, it starts with you! And it is a great place to start. Then, you extend out a common courtesy to others – I’m not asking you to love and be friends with everyone, but being decent isn’t too much to ask is it?
If there was a world expert on caring, kindness and compassion, then His Holiness The Dalai Lama would have to be it. Cultivating kindness and compassion is the way to a better world, nothing groundbreaking there, but it is surprisingly difficult to do. The Dalai Lama talks at length about this and educates on the ideas of forgiveness, trust, taking genuine interest in others and engaging in open honest communication with people of differing ideas as fundamental to creating a more harmonious society. People have to not want suffering (or reduce it at least), and he preaches that we need to change minds through compassion – not by force – and this is done through dialogue and education.
People strive for inner peace and we need a sense of belonging, a sense of community, a sense of that we’re understood and secure/safe. People want to feel cared for and loved, I mean, isn’t that why we suffer through long marriages? (Am I right, folks? *winks*).
Compassion requires you to think about an other, to put yourself in the other person’s shoes, understand who they are, what are they going through? How do they feel? How have they come to be this way? Remember, it’s about them, not you – however, you can’t put yourself second, if you haven’t put yourself first i.e. if you haven’t looked after and developed yourself, you won’t be (as) good at caring for someone else. It may even be the case that you have somehow contributed to this person’s suffering, and that’s a horrible view to entertain because you don’t want to think that you have caused this person’s ill feeling, which is why most people don’t like to think how they’ve added to someone’s misery, especially if they love this person. We don't like to think of ourselves as potentially "bad" people.
A bit of longer post today so I’ll finish up with a couple of short points. To increase your likelihood and ability of compassion, reading widely and travelling are two excellent ways to go about it. To facilitate caring, kindness and compassion, it is good to live your life in service to others which opens up opportunities for reciprocation, but beware the snakes who take advantage and/or don’t show respect.
I’ll leave you with this thought:
How do you expect people to care for something or someone they have no connection with? It doesn’t matter whether it is family or friends or a community or an intimate partner or the environment or an industry. If people have no connection with something or someone they are less likely to feel compassion towards it or them.