The Power of Caring
This blog was written from an excerpt of The Misfit Squad Podcast with Trina Rice and Kim Lucien! To listen to the full podcast on caring, go HERE.
What is the power of caring? Have you ever considered that there is a difference between caring for, and taking care of? Have you ever wondered what is true caring? There is a huge amount of power in caring, however most of us don't ever acknowledge how much we actually care.
Here's one perspective on what caring actually is: When you take care of others, you do things for them. When you care for others, you allow them to be what they choose. True caring is the willingness to allow somebody to be exactly what they are choosing to be. Taking care of somebody is trying to change them into what will make them better.
Have you heard about the 5 elements of intimacy? They are allowance, honor, trust, gratitude, and vulnerability. How can these contribute to your relationship? We will talk a lot about using this with your partner in this blog, but remember: you can’t have intimacy with someone else if you can’t have it with you! How is your relationship with yourself doing? Try these elements with yourself as well. These tips also work with anyone that you care about - a parent, a friend, or even someone you work closely with. These tools can be very practical. Read each element below to see how they can totally transform your relationship.
1. Allowance is allowing someone to be what they're choosing to be. It’s allowing someone to have infinite choice, no matter what that is, and allowing them to make the choices that they would like to make, even if it might hurt them.
2. Trust that they are going to be and choose exactly what they’re being and choosing. This means not hoping and wishing they will be different, but trusting that they are being who they are, and that that’s not going to change until they want it to.
3. Honor that person exactly as they are. How can you honor your partner today? Trying to change someone comes from a superior point of view - and it’s not very honoring of them. If you honored them instead of asserting your agenda, what could change in your relationship?
4. Be vulnerable with yourself, and with your partner. Being vulnerable is not a weakness or a wrongness - it’s actually a huge strength! If you approach your partner with total vulnerability, no agenda, and no barriers, we guarantee the conversation will go very differently than if you approached them with anger and hostility. Try it!
5. Lastly, have gratitude for your partner. Gratitude is different from love because we all have our own ideas of what love is - and they are often not the same as our partners. But gratitude has one meaning and it is universal to all of us. Gratitude is true appreciation of the person standing in front of you, exactly as they are. What are you grateful for about your partner today?
So many times this willingness to allow someone to make their own choices gets misidentified and misapplied, just like caring does. Many people think caring means “I’m going to try to stop you from doing something that might hurt you. And if I can’t stop you, then I’m going to judge you.” That judgement is either alignment and agreement or resistance and reaction to that person’s choices because you “really care about them.”
But that's actually not caring. That’s taking care of someone and trying to make it better for them, and trying to make the choices that they make right and correct from your point of view. You may think you’re trying to make it better for them, but when you're doing ‘taking care of,’ you’re actually trying to make it better for yourself - with total disregard for what’s actually better for the other person. It’s disguised as better for the other person, but it is mostly in your own interest. Tough to swallow, I know!
Taking care of comes from a superior point of view - the point of the view that you know best and you are going to make them see that. Caring for someone recognizes that they have their own journey, their own perspective, and their own view of how to do things “right.” What if you switched your perspective from taking care of to caring for? It will be a lot less work on your part. Focus on what you’re grateful for about the other person, and they will start to do the same. Then the relationship becomes working together instead of the two of you against each other. What can you learn from each other and each of your different perspectives?
We’re taught that we are supposed to take care of other people. But if you look at true caring, what is actually more empowering? Asking them a question? Or imposing a point of view on them? Hint: it’s asking a question ;) Good luck with this, and let us know how these tools worked for you in the comments! We love to hear from you!
Power Caring Exercise
What’s more real, anger or caring? Oftentimes our anger feels so compelling - but it’s not real. Here is an exercise you can try to see just how powerful your caring really is. This is also a great way to dissipate any frustration you may be feeling with someone. Go ahead and give it a try next time you’re feeling angry with someone you care about.
Right now, think of somebody or something that you're really upset with or frustrated with, or have some disparite energy with. Get that energy and expand it out, really, really big. Bigger than the size of the room you’re in. Keep going - bigger than the size of the United States. Now think of that person again and the thing you were upset about. As upsetting as it was - is it still that upsetting now? Or did it dissipate? Usually what happens when you expand the energy of the anger out, it disappears. It’s not real. Do you care about this person? Get the energy of the caring you have for them. Expand that out as big as you can. Again, bigger than the whole country, bigger than the whole world. What happens then? It gets bigger. That’s how you know it is real. And it is so much more powerful than the energy of anger. How does it get even better than that?