“Who cares?” Some may ask. But not you, right Psych2Goers? If anything, you might find yourself caring a little too much. Whether it’s about caring what others think about you, expectations you feel that you have to meet, or other small things that you may not realize that you’re holding on to, it can be easy to care a little too much, and not knowing how to let go of something when you care so much, that it starts to be disruptive, or even unhealthy in your everyday life.
Chasing what you want is important, and more often than not, we have to care about the things that are important to us in order to catch up with them, and to hold onto them for ourselves. But we do tend to carry unnecessary baggage on our shoulders that we might not even realize is there, or that we don’t even have to be lugging around in the first place.
But before we continue, do remember that the information in this articleis not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. All content, including text, graphics, images, and information, contained in this article is for general information purposes only and does not replace a consultation with your own doctor/health professional
Let’s look into some things you may be carrying around to find out why you care so much (and how to let go)!
1. Why do we care so much?
As humans, we tend to care about tons of things that benefit us as human beings. Whether it’s money, love, friendship, or even just everyday small pleasures, we tend to seek these things out to make us happy, and increase the amount of things that will impact us positively. But when we decide to care about another human being, it’s due in part to our instinct of being interdependant upon one another. Research that has been conducted by Amrisha Vaish and Tobias Grossmann dictates that we feel a range of emotions, for example, guilt, and attachment to others as part of our initial instincts for survival!
Humans were designed to be inderdependent on each other in order to survive since we are, by nature, very sociable. Even if you might not be the most talkative person in the world, there was a time where working together benefited early man in capturing wild animals, and working together to pool resources together in order to survive. You may have heard the term, “sharing is caring!” but this was essential when the human race had just begun developing. It’s the same place that our “fight or flight” senses come in to play. When we perceive a danger significant enough, our body goes into fight or flight mode in order to ensure our own survival.
But in modern day, we may have fight or flight reactions when we are faced with more mudane “dangers” from everyday life. When we’re about to take a very big test, try something new for the first time, or even perform in front of a large audience, we can still feel our fight or flight instincts kick in. But is also the same when it comes to wanting to help or protect others, at least naturally speaking. Expressing sympathy, concern, and caring for others’ wellbeing, has been shown by Amrisha Vaish and Tobias for babies to exhibit this as early as 1 year after birth (Vaish and Grossmann, 2022).
Caring about other things that cause us stress, such as an overwhleming fear of failure, fear of rejection, fear of not fitting in, all of these things can weigh heavily on us. Worrying about how we fit in with our peers or impress others can also come from a place of wanting to belong in certain groups of people, or to appear acceptable or likeable to others.
Some components of caring are more external as well. We can care a little too much about things such as money, publicity, or other sorts of external gratification that can leave us feeling as though we’re on an eternal chase for something that we can’t have enough of.
Whatever sort of things that you care too much about, it may help you to reconsider what sort of impact each of these things holds in your life, and if you’re giving it just a little too much priority. Maybe you want a lot of money now because there was a time where you could have really needed it, but didn’t quite have enough. If you experienced great amounts of bullying or were shunned before in your life, you might just care about fitting in, being popular, or pleasing everybody around you. Identifying why you care about these things is just as important as figuring out what to do, and deciding why it is that you should let go. Find out why these things bother you, what things they are preventing you from doing, and how letting go of them can help improve your life, even if it seems impossible to do so. Trying to put into perspective about how your concerns may be smaller than you’re making it out is the start of tackling the problem. Remember Psych2Goers, It’s not the end of the world. As an old saying goes, “fear makes the wolf bigger than he is”.
2. What it means to let go, and how to finally do it
Do you have all of these things that feel as though they’re saddling you down? You might feel as though you have an obligation to care about the things that mean so much to you, especially if others won’t. After we’ve identified the things that we focus so much on caring about that tend to disrupt our life, we can address them and drop the unnecessary weight off of our shoulders.
Letting go can mean a lot of different things to different people. Some may say that “letting go” means to get rid of these issues entirely. Others may say that letting to means lessening the problem to a certain degree so that it doesn’t affect you as strongly. In the grand scheme of things, letting go should be lessening how much control that caring has over you, even if that means you’re able to get it down to zero.
Would it help you in the long run to get rid of these things? What sorts of happiness or joy does caring about these things bring to your life? Do you feel anxious, or even stressed when you care too deeply? Does what you care about cause rifts between people you love?
And perhaps most importantly: does caring about this thing affect your life in a catastrophic way if you stop?
If the answer to a majority of these questions indicate that these concerns are more like ankle weights around your legs, than hobbies, goals, or hopeful achievements that you’re trying to reach, you may have just solved the secret formula of realizing why you should be lessening these problems, and reaping the benefits that doing so may have on your life. Congratulations, Psych2Goers!
3. Resolving and moving forward
So, we have all of the puzzles pieces together, but how do we finally move on after accepting we have to let go? What steps do you take to let go of caring, once and for all? What does it mean to finally… not care?
When there are things that are well out of our control, or things that are in our control that we tend to fuss or obsess over consistently, we need to know actionable, yet thoughtful steps that we can take in order to finally get over it.
“When life gives you lemons, make lemonaid” is an extremely common saying that you’ve no doubt heard once or twice. What you may not have known is that this quote is more typically attributed to Dale Carnegie (who attributed it to Julius Rosenwald), who used the saying in his book, “How To Stop Worrying and Start Living” (despite being initally coined by Elbert Hubbard!) (When life gives you lemons). Even though this saying is fairly obvious on its own, it can have a more practical, modern reading when it comes to not caring instead of making something sour into something sweet.
When we care about something too much, it may be because its always on our mind, or a fear in the back of your head. It’s a dark splotch that tends to constantly turn your mood as sour as a lemon. But once we start having sweeter thoughts and actions towards our fears, they can end up turning sweet.
Try to understand that the biggest worries you may have may indeed be somewhat irrational. None of these events may be on the doomsday level of concern that you think they are. Changing the way you process these emotions and shifting how you choose to interact with these problems, if at all, can hold the key to putting them off your mind, and leaving room for more gracious opportunities going forward.
While you’re in your mind pondering how you can rework your brain into reprocessing your thoughts differently, try to poke around and follow the feelings you have to these attachments you find yourself stuck to. Making sure to write down why these feelings mean so much to you, and then slowly seeing how you do without constantly affirming these beliefs can help you turn them around, and even notice that some of your concerns may not matter in a couple months, or even in a couple years. Reminding yourself that sometimes just being conscious of your concerns can be enough to prevent the worst from happening. In most cases, the fear that your attention towards your problems might in fact be counterproductive to resolving them is also a valid concern, and a mistak that others may make. (Saxena, 2022).
Everyone’s circumstance may be different, Psych2Goers. Not caring about certain things can seem like an enormous task. But not everyone cares about the same things that you might care about for one reason or another, even though they might seem to be perfectly find with a more carefree sort of lifestyle. Everybody worries about something, but those things will differ from person to person, and situation to situation.
What are some things that you care about that help you, or something you find that others don’t care about in teh same way you do?? Have you ever moved on from something by not caring about it altogether? We would love to hear your stories of triumph, Psych2Goers. It’s viewers like you that help us make psychology more accessible to everyone, and we couldn’t ask for anything more than that. Be sure to share this article with a friend if you felt you learned something new, and know that we here at Psych2Go deeply care about all of our wonderful viewers.
Saxena, J. (2022, April 5). How to stop caring about things you can’t control. BetterHelp. Retrieved from https://www.betterhelp.com/advice/stress/how-to-stop-caring-about-things-you-cant-control/
The Idioms. (n.d.). When life gives you lemons. The Idioms. Retrieved from https://www.theidioms.com/when-life-gives-you-lemons/#:~:text=Although%20the%20expression%20was%20coined,Stop%20Worrying%20and%20Start%20Living.
Vaish, A., & Grossmann, T. (2022). Caring for Others: The Early Emergence of Sympathy and Guilt. In Evolutionary Perspectives on Infancy (pp. 349-369). Springer, Cham.