Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.
– Leo F. Buscaglia
Caring is a fantastic way of getting more good from less. Caring leverages your energies so it is possible to simultaneously help yourself, help others and help the wider world.
‘Care’ is one of those difficult words. It is so full of meaning it is hard to explicate but in terms like ‘care about…’, ‘care for…’ and ‘care of…’ we start to get a idea for the broad sweep of this word.
You can care for yourself, care for others, or care for things – yours, others or the commons. In any of these cases you are looking after someone or something. This could be proactive or reactive. In other words, on one hand there is the aspect of being ‘careful’ with connotations of responsibility, vigilance and prevention. There is also an element of ‘providing’ care with connotations of healing, relieving, fixing and restoring.
Caring for yourself
Caring for yourself includes looking after your health – physical and mental – as well as your safety. You will get much more out of life if you are healthy and safe. There are any number of ways in which people can care for themselves. In a general sense caring for yourself includes eating a healthy diet, getting sufficient exercise and rest, and eliminating, or at least moderating, unhealthy behaviours such as alcohol, cigarettes and drugs.
Caring for others
You can care for others especially those who can’t care for themselves properly or those who are especially vulnerable. By caring through giving and sharing we not only support those who need it we actively enhance our own well-being. Kindness and consideration always benefits all parties.
Caring for the world
People can care about something but still do nothing. To care ‘about’ must come first but it must also be followed by action if it is to be meaningful. It is good to care ABOUT the environment but unless you TAKE CARE OF the environment no benefit is gained.
You can care for your rights and the rights of those people and things that can’t protect themselves.