stop being afraid to care too much

there’s no such thing as loving too much — so why are we afraid of it?

Photo by Jen Hayashi
“Never let it be said that I cared too little.” — a quote that I thought I lived by, and then realized I was the world’s biggest hypocrite by thinking that.

I have this friend who is crazy passionate, a go-getter, a #girlboss in every way. Those she cares about, she’ll do almost anything for. And she puts this passion, this fire, this intensity, into all her relationships, into the different aspects of her life, and I believe that’s one of the reasons she’s so successful.

But that also means I’ve watched her be the one that cares too much in every relationship. The one that puts in far more effort. That goes the extra mile (honestly, the extra five or six miles). And it’s not a bad thing per se, because that’s just who she is, but I always feel like she deserves more. That she deserves someone who at least attempts to match her level of effort and caring.

Maybe I’m selfish, but as passionate and crazy and empathetic as I am, even I don’t match her level of effort for other people. Especially when it comes to relationships — it’s admirable how she’s not afraid to be the one that shows interest, that cares more, that goes and gets it.

Because in modern relationships, it’s a game of “who can care less;” it’s hookup culture thinking, as she calls it. We’re afraid to be the one who cares more, because that means we’re weak. That means we’re at the other person’s mercy, because they care less, and then they’re in a position of power — they can hurt us.

That results in no one caring at all, because it’s very rare in life that you get two people with equal levels of caring.

And what way to live is that?

So let’s be open. Open our hearts, open our minds, wear our feelings on our sleeves.

If we’re closed, if we can’t let ourselves show that something matters, then we waste so much time. So much opportunity.

And hey, if that person actually doesn’t care as much as you’d like them to and you get hurt, or you get your heart broken, or you just realize, “Damn I deserve better than this”… that’s just part of the process.

I’m a staunch believer that pain is an integral part of life. Without experiencing pain or sadness, can we truly know or appreciate what happiness is?

Let’s open ourselves to the possibility of pain. Accept that it may come. Receive it if it does. Learn from it. And move on.

I know it’s much easier said than done. I’m a huge hypocrite for even saying this.

Because honestly, for someone who’s not afraid of many things and most definitely not afraid of any physical pain, I’m absolutely terrified by the prospect of showing that I care too much.

Maybe it’s because I’ve cared too much in one-sided relationships and I’ve wasted so much time trying to get someone to care more about me. Maybe it’s because Chinese heritage teaches you to be stoic towards everyone but your family members. Maybe it’s because I didn’t want to be seen as desperate, or sad, or pathetic.

Whatever my excuse is, it’s just that — an excuse. I’m perpetually afraid of the “what if;” I always fall under the curse of overthinking.

But it shouldn’t be that hard. Like my friend says, So what? If it matters to you, then show that it matters. Why waste any more time?

So I, and you, and probably everyone else in this first-world society, need to show that we care. We need to stop thinking about the different scenarios or ways we can get hurt. Just feel it and act upon it, without a second thought. It’s that simple (but not really, I know).

Let’s try though. Let’s take a leap of faith.

“Never it be said that I cared too little.”