The other day I asked myself a sad question: should I stop caring about people?
I never want to have to stop caring about others. I believe so much pain in this world is because people don’t care enough about one another. And caring is something that makes being alive worthwhile.
But caring so much about others, to the point where you feel that their happiness and peace of mind is your responsibility, is a heavy burden. Not only is it unrealistic, it also halts the growth process of your loved ones.
And then I realized… you should care about people, but…
You shouldn’t care so hard about others to the point where you stop caring about yourself.
If I could have it my way, I would want everyone in the world to be happy and at peace with themselves. It would be great — no one would snap at me or anything, and everyone would be very pleasant to be around! Life would be great!
But happiness & peace is an inside job. The same way no one else can give me happiness or peace, that it’s ultimately my call — I can try to give this to others, but it’s ultimately their call. And the more I bang my head against a wall trying to make sure someone is okay, and they’re still not okay no matter what I do, the more I drive myself crazy!
You have to reach the point where you “don’t care“ … not in a malicious or spiteful way, but in a way that shows trust. You trust others will find happiness and peace. You trust that others can make it on their own, and they don’t have to rely on you 24/7.
How do you know when you need to disconnect?
- When you feel like it’s ultimately your responsibility to make sure someone is happy and has peace of mind.
- When someone uses you as an emotional dumpster — pouring out their private problems to you on a constant basis.
- When you keep giving positive advice to someone and they refuse to take it.
- When they use guilt as a way to keep you around.
- When they disrespect your boundaries.
How can you disconnect?
Disconnection can feel so cruel, especially when you’re dealing with someone who uses guilt tactics. But if you don’t make the conscious choice to disconnect before it’s too late, you’re going to reach a breaking point where you snap at someone. It’s always better to disconnect on peaceful terms. And remember it’s not about cutting someone off, it’s about drawing boundaries.
Remind yourself that this is all about trust. By extending all your energy on making sure someone is okay, you send signals that you don’t believe they are capable of taking care of themselves. So ironically, while you’re worried about hurting them, you’re actually causing more hurt. You’re making them think that you don’t trust them, and that they can’t trust themselves.
One simple phrase
One simple phrase can turn your perspective completely around: I trust that you will be okay.
If you feel that you’re holding onto someone who is hanging off a cliff, let go. Don’t let go with fear, or they will fall. But let go with the faith that there’s a pile of pillows underneath them. That they are destined for something so much greater than you. No one ever grows by gripping onto each other.
You can say it to their face or you can think it in your head. Do this over and over until a change is made.
“I trust that you will figure things out. I trust that you have a great future. I trust that better things are coming your way. I trust that you know how to take care of yourself. I trust that you don’t need me to solve all your problems.”
Most of us can’t solve our own problems, so why try to take on other’s? Most of us struggle with feeling happy, so why try so hard to make someone else constantly happy? Most of us are still searching for our own peace of mind, so why attempt to make someone find theirs?
Just trust. Have faith. Let people know you believe in them.