Caring: For Outcomes or for JoyBy Dr. Margaret Paul
September 29, 2008
Are you willing to take an honest look at your intent when you believe that you are caring about others? If you find others resisting your caring, you might want to consider that you are giving to get.
Take a moment right now to think about a situation today in which you were caring - at home, at work, with a friend, or with someone you don't know such as a salesperson or a waiter. Are you willing to be completely honest with yourself regarding why you were caring? If you are, then go inside and notice if your caring had any outcome attached to it. Is there something you wanted from the other person? Is there some reason you were caring other than caring for the joy of it?
Ask yourself these questions:
- Was there some part of me that was trying to control what the other person thought of me? Was I behaving in a caring way to get attention, approval, validation, love, time, or sex?
- Was there a part of me hoping that my caring would result in monetary gain? Was I acting caring in the hopes of getting the other person to trust me enough to participate in some way that would bring me more money?
None of us like to think of ourselves as manipulative, yet we all have a part of us that wants control over getting what we want, and we may have learned to use our caring as one form of control.
While caring as a form of control may seem to work at times, it will never bring you joy. You might receive approval or sex or money, but something will always seem to be missing from your life. Getting what you believe you want may feel good for the moment, but it will never bring you the deep joy that results when caring from the heart with no agenda or attachment to outcomes.
When we are caring from the heart, we become, as Mother Teresa said, "God's pencil." We are giving to others just for the sake of expressing what is most beautiful about life - caring about each other. Giving to others from an open heart fills the soul with joy.
You can express this pure caring only when you are also caring about yourself through your Inner Bonding practice. If you are not giving yourself the attention, validation, and love that we all need, then you will covertly be trying to get this from others. Others will pick up the "giving to get" energy and may not feel your "caring." In fact, others may even become resistant to receiving your caring because it feels controlling to them - and it is.
We can be caring purely for the joy of it only when we are taking 100% responsibility for ourselves - for thinking and behaving in ways that lead to inner safety and a deep sense of self worth. When we are not doing this for ourselves, then we need this from others, and we will be unable to be caring without strings attached.
It is in primary relationships with mates, children, and parents, that our giving to get has the most negative consequences. No one likes to be controlled by others, so when you give with an agenda, you may encounter anger and/or withdrawal. Your loved ones might not even know why they are angry or withdrawn. They just know that something feels bad inside them when you are "caring" about them.
While the outward behavior may look exactly the same when you are caring with an agenda or caring for the joy of it, energetically these two intentions feel totally different to others. If others are not responsive to your caring, you might want to honestly look at your intent in being caring.
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Do you awake each morning excited about your day, or do you awake wondering why you are alive? If you are following your joy, then your life has meaning, but if you are just doing the 'right' thing, it is likely your life feels flat and meaningless. There is no time like the present to follow your joy. What are you waiting for?
By Dr. Margaret Paul