When To Care…Or Not?

Don’t care what other people think! That is a statement I’m sure we’ve heard or been told at some point in our lives. It’s even a statement I have encountered quite often in a lot of personal development books I have listened to. It is easy to say and hard to do.

Thing is, I don’t necessarily think that is true. I also don’t think it is entirely possible. If you are human, and have a heart, you will care at some time or other.

I would assume that the people saying that statement also care. At least a little. If it’s a statement you read or heard in a very popular book by a popular author do you not think they would care if no one had bought that book? If you are spending all that time, and effort, into creating something, something that obviously means a lot to you, surely you have to care how it is received to a certain degree.

Of course it is true that generally people might not care about what you do as we don’t think outside ourselves most of the time. We are inherently selfish after all. We filter everything through our own thoughts.

I don’t think it is a case of not caring what other people think. I think it is more a case of knowing when to care and when not to. Even this is hard to do.

Most of us would care about what a family member or loved one thinks of the thing we are doing, the way we behave, the way we live our life. If they disagree with us, disagree with what we are doing, even and especially when it is something close to our hearts, we are going to care. We might fight back against their idea, or belief. We might disagree with what they think. But we still care. We might even take it as a personal attack. An insult to the person we are.

However, if it is just some random stranger, an acquaintance, a work colleague, and they are saying how that thing you like doing is a waste of time. Like telling an artist their artwork is terrible, or a poet that their poems are pathetic. Then it is easier not to care. We can rationalise that away. We could tell ourselves that they don’t know what they are talking about. That it’s not like they are experts in that field. That they only have an uneducated opinion which could be based on a number of things, possibly jealousy.

I guess how much we care depends on the nature of our relationship with that person. As I said it’s easier not to care about what a stranger thinks or says but not so easy when it is someone close to us. It’s the people closest to us that can hurt us the most after all.

Deciding when to care or not is a difficult thing to do. There is certainly freedom if you can reach that state of mind where you truly don’t care. The great Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu is even quoted as saying: “Care what other people think and you will always be their prisoner”.

But then we have the metaphysical English poet John Donne with his infamous “no man is an island” quote which implies that despite our inherent selfishness and perspective we are still a part of a bigger whole, a society, a world. Surly to be a part of that world you have to care at some time or other. If no one really cared anarchy and destruction would rule.

People like to pretend they don’t care. They might even say it. I’ve said it myself at times. But is that true? If you’ve ever said it did you not reflect on that moment later? The moment that led to those words coming out of your mouth. In truth, I know I did. In reality, what I said wasn’t always true.

I don’t think it’s as clear-cut as not caring what other people think. I think we have to choose our cares wisely. Choose when to care and when not to. Choose when caring or not will work against us or be in our own best interests. There is no ‘one size fits all’ answer or convenient quotable soundbite. Only you can know which is best for you and when.

21 thoughts on “When To Care…Or Not?

  1. I can agree 100%, we also care even if we say we don’t, it always something to care about, someones opinion matters to us a lot, someones doesn’t at all, maybe we don’t even hear it because we don’t want to, yes need to chose wisely about what to care and about what not at all, i was on my way out, until i saw your post, great post, enjoyed it, sometimes we care about what we shouldn’t care and sometimes we don’t care about the things what we should care, how interesting is a human being actually, goodnight, i will log out finally😁🤗

    1. I think you were reading my post as I was reading one of yours 🙂
      Had just went to bed and now got up again. I would guess you finally logged out and are getting some rest.
      It is funny what we choose to care about sometimes. As you say how interesting is a human being. So true. We can be so simple and yet so complex.
      Hope you are keeping well Ilona and thanks for commenting. Take care 🙂

  2. Good points! I’ve never really thought about it that way. We’ve all heard the saying. I guess the point is that you shouldn’t let it get to you. I.E. don’t care too much. I think that’s the trap that many fall into. Good read!

    1. Thank you very much I am glad you liked the perspective 🙂
      Knowing how to not let things get to us can certainly be challenging.
      I appreciate you taking the time to comment. Best wishes to you 🙂

    1. I wish I knew that quote before now. It sums it up exactly. Thank you for enlightening me with that 🙂
      It is a fine line and a difficult one to walk.
      Thank you for commenting and I hope you are keeping well 🙂

  3. Really interesting and thought provoking post! I think, if we’re honest, we all care about what others think about us, the trick is to not let their opinions have a negative impact on our lives. The problems only really start when we hold on to something unpleasant that someone else has said or worry about it to a point that we believe it. As Ajahn Brahm said “Life is what’s happening while you’re worrying” ;O)

    1. Thank you. Glad you liked it.
      I think you are right about not letting others opinions have a negative impact on us. It can be so hard to do so sometimes.
      I appreciate you taking the time to comment and hope life is treating you well. Best wishes to you.

  4. I can tell you that I struggle with this subject even though I don’t show, like you I always wondered when to care and when not to what others think, we hear the clichés: you should never care, you should have self-confidence, people’s opinions don’t matter but we live in a society, we do 99% of the things because we are in this society otherwise who the hell cares? So I do care most of the times but as you said “how much we care depends on the nature of our relationship with that person.” 100% if we admire someone, like someone, wants to impress someone, we care and so much! Even sometimes it’s not healthy at all, but we do care.

    The family plays a big role, the relationship with the child starts early and the kids want to imitate their parents, they want them to be proud…even when there are problems and kids reject their parents and think they hate them but deep down, they want them to appreciate them they want them to say they are proud of them! So we care since we start our first relationships and bonds, we do care and we always claim we don’t we become angry, we deny, we become careless, but this is all another face of care! of the need we have that other care…I don’t know if I express it well
    When to stop and at what point? Well each person is different and must cope with what suits them I guess
    Thank you Chris, I guess this post is like you say a lovely assault haha

    1. Ha ha I’m glad you liked it. Now you know what it’s like when I read one of your posts 😁
      You have expressed the point very well! It’s so difficult to know the right time to care sometimes. And what you said about family is so true.
      I hope you overcome your struggles with the right amount of caring Huguette 🙂

      1. Yes I know haha 😁
        Well I don’t know if i completely overcame my struggles, each day we learn something new and our perspective change I guess continuously
        I’m hardly thinking about it now to be honest
        Hope you’re enjoying your weekend 😊

      2. Think it’s always a work in progress anyway. Glad you’re thinking less about it now 🙂
        Weekend off to a good start. Hope yours is too! 😊

  5. Caring is often seen as a weakness, but it can be a strength. Even the haters voices who wish to discourage us for whatever reason have their place in the fire. There words serve as fuel in many ways, and sometimes it is our own interpretation of their words (or potential thoughts) that push us to make amazing and wonderful changes in our lives. I only wish I knew how to organize it all better, and maybe shorten the list of whose opinions I care about at the end of the day. Anyways, thank you for the thought provoking read. 🙂

    1. Caring can certainly be a strength, I agree. It’s certainly a balancing act trying to figure the best times to care or not and whether the things being said to us are in our best interests.
      I’m glad you enjoyed the read and appreciate you taking the time to comment. Best wishes to you 🙂

  6. i have had a busy week and weekend and now just able to visit your posts, so you may get an avalanche of comments! be warned!

    firstly, wow you have been writing some really good stuff! keep at it!

    i have never cared what people think…full stop! but i agree with you about the strength and closeness of relationships, i would never do anything against my parents wishes or hurt my kids, having said that, their opinion means a lot to me because they’re important to me.

    i appreciate criticism, only way i can get better and improve myself so its a double edged sword in a way. but having confidence is key, some people just say things to hurt, not in love. i teach my kids to watch what they say, to always think before speaking and that silence can solve many problems.

    but maybe i am talking too much as usual! LOL!

    1. Ha ha Yes I’ve seen the avalanche. And a welcome one it is too! Thank you so much for saying such kind things about my posts 🙂
      You are certainly a strong woman to say you have never cared what people think. That’s such a hard thing to do and takes a lot of self belief. Fair play to you. I wish I was as strong as that. It doesn’t surprise me that you wouldn’t do anything against your parents wishes or to hurt your kids. You come across the me as a very considerate woman. Especially when it involves your family. That’s an admirable quality.
      I agree with your view on criticism. As long as it’s coming from the right place.
      By the way…you can never talk too much as far as I’m concerned 🙂

      1. glad you are enjoying my ramblings and your replies are precious to me, I learn a few new things reading your experiences and thoughts.

        lots i have had to confront and deal with, deciding to end my marriage and be a single mum, its not so accepted here even now, people are always judgmental and snobbish. Having said that i am not perfect either , just trying to find some balance in life.

        love chatting with you as time permits us.

        have a lovely night and sleep well my friend.

      2. Well I’m glad you can learn something from my writings. I even get that from your comments 😊
        From the sound of it ending your marriage was the best thing for you and your kids. And that isn’t an easy thing for me to say. I can understand people’s reactions. But they didn’t have to live it. And some probably wish they had the same courage.
        Ah sure none of us are perfect. But at least we try. That’s the most important thing.
        Likewise Gina. It’s always a joy.
        Much love to you and your family 😊

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