For The Ones Who Think They Care Too Deeply
There’s a memory from my early twenties that will forever linger in my brain.
I was home from graduate school, and at my parents, and reeling from heartache. It was the I can’t stop crying/I don’t want to eat/the world feels like it’s ending kind of despair. I felt as if part of my soul was missing. I felt as if my heart would never be able to mend.
I also felt like a fool for believing in the love I thought I had, for being kind, for trusting, for caring for this person.
And so, through my tears, I told my Dad, “I’m such an idiot for caring. Next time, I’ll be stronger. Next time, I won’t care as much.”
My Dad, in his infinite wisdom, looked at me and said, “I really hope you don’t do that. Part of what makes you such a wonderful, beautiful human is that you do care — you care a lot. And that’s something you should never try to rid yourself of.”
It’s easy to try to tell ourselves not to care.
It’s easy to want to try and prevent ourselves from getting hurt and burned and brokenhearted.
It’s easy to attempt to close yourself off from hurt, to steel yourself against loving and caring and feeling.
I get it; I do.
I’ve been there, too.
But if you’re one of the humans in this world who cares with their whole being, if you’re someone who carries the hearts of others as gently as you do your own, someone who loves without hesitation and trepidation — I hope you never try to diminish that, or hide that, or change that about yourself.
I hope you recognize that loving in such a way is a gift — to you and those around you. I hope you see that the world needs people like you, ones who love, even in the scariest of moments. I hope you know that your ability to love is both beautiful and brave.
I know the impulse one has after heartbreak is to close yourself off. To shut out the rest of the world and hide away for a while. But that would not be doing service to who you are at your core.
At your core, you are someone who has a heart that can hold more than the average person. Your capacity for goodness, and grace, and compassion is tremendous — a superpower if you will.
At your core, you are someone who finds joy in the world around you, who sees the beauty in the shadows and the light.
At your core, you are someone who loves and cares deeply. You cannot merely shrug off the pain of the ones you meet or the strangers you read about in the news. You cannot buy into the notion that it’s cool not to care. You cannot pretend like your heart is happy, when in fact, it is hurting.
You care because you love.
You love because you care.
And the world needs people like you — a wonderful, beautiful human who cares.