On How To Show You Care

Both at dinner on Sabbath and while I was enjoying a great deal of time spent with friends and family, a topic came up that drew a lot of thought and discussion. How do other people recognize that we care about them? One of the things we discussed is that it is obvious to show that we care about people by doing things that they appreciate and enjoy and not doing things that bother them. This does not seem to be an overly complicated thing, and it was amusing to look at the sorts of things that we all appreciate and that we know about what others like. In doing so we were able to determine some obvious ways that showing that one cares can be done in a straightforward manner.

It did not prove particularly difficult to see what other people enjoyed when we were chatting. For example, on Mother’s Day I gave my mum a call because I know that she appreciates talking on the phone at least twice a year on her birthday as well as on mother’s day. Knowing these things, then, one can do them. Similarly, our discussion of what others enjoyed eating and drinking for mother’s day was also similarly straightforward. It is easy for us to think of what others like or don’t like when we pay attention to them and their ways. To the extent that we demonstrate we don’t pay attention to others, it is a sign that we do not care about them. After all, it only takes a bit of time and attention to see the patterns of others, to see what they like to do, what they like to talk about, what they like to eat and drink, and so on. To humor others, if we genuinely care about them, is no great sacrifice.

One of the aspects of our time that is particularly troublesome, and none of us are immune to its influences, is that we are so consumed about ourselves and our own preferences and what we want to say and do and enjoy, that we seldom stop to think about what others want. One of the joys of getting a certain amount of money and power is to coerce others to cater to us, with a lack of reciprocity. And while there are people who will put up with a great deal because of their desire to maintain a relationship, the selfishness that demands that others hear us and attend to our preferences and cares nothing about what others like and what others not is wearisome. And if we are not wearied by the ungrateful, it often turns out to be the case that we are the one heaping burdens on those around us. And once we realize that, perhaps we can turn our attention to what we have ignored, because most people make it easy for us to show that we care if we have any interest in doing so.

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
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2 Responses to On How To Show You Care

  1. Catharine Martin says:

    I truly appreciated your phone call and it made my day. Love means, among other things, consideration for others. What you defined is nothing short of the second great commandment; taking one’s eyes of one’s self and concentrating on others’ wants, needs and desires. The pursuit of taking care of other people helps them to reciprocate; filling the inner hunger. It is so true that the eating and drinking which satisfies us are those things which emotionally, mentally and spiritually feed us–Family, on every level, and the trust that accompanies it.

    We must learn not to bear unnecessary burdens or those who attempt to place them on us. They belong to the One who shouldered them in the first place. While we must do the right thing, we must first learn to ask for discernment to know whether it is the right thing and then to to do it from the motivation of love. I’ve also learned that we must tell people how much we love them while we have the time to do so–as well as show them. There must never be regrets about the things we never said to loved ones after they die. I am so grateful that God gave me the time to say these things to my father, mother, my children’s father and their grandmother. This gave me so much comfore during the grieving period.

    • I’m glad you found comfort in being able to say what you needed to say; it is indeed painful to not be able to do so. And yes, I was intentionally making a reference to the second great commandment as well as to the golden rule about treating others as you would want to be treated–with attention, care, and consideration.

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