Sharing Is (Not Necessarily) Caring

2009 July 27

Hate To Break It To You is a recurring feature wherein we dispense succinct home truths that everyone could benefit from facing up to, unpleasant as they may be. This is the first installment.


Photo by Sister72

No one cares as much as you do. Whether it’s your wedding plans, your grandfather’s death, your favorite band or the last 10 lbs you’re convinced that you need to shed, whatever it is that occupies the lion’s share of your psychic real estate is a unilateral fixation. Harsh, but oh so true.

It will never matter as much or in precisely the same way to someone else as it does to you. You can explain the awesomeness of sabermetrics until you’re blue in the face, send them links to bridesmaid dresses, drag them to concerts or rage eloquently about the need for on-campus freedom of the press*, but no matter their innate empathy, their compatibility with you (and your interests) and/or your own passionate persuasiveness, it won’t resonate the way you fervently want it to. They’re simply unable to relate to the primacy of it as you do. At the end of the day, it remains your thing, be it hobby horse or cross to bear.

Pouring your energy into getting others to match your depth of emotional investment is both a losing and an exhausting proposition. Ditto, blaming them for not getting it or yourself for not being able to convince them. Share as much commonality as you can and accept that some feelings are simply a bridge too far. It’s not rejection or failure, it’s simply bumping up against the limits of shared human experience.

* Been there, done that, have the battle scars to prove it.

This post has been brought to you by a-ha, the letter F and the number 12.

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Let The Right Ones In: On Being Vulnerable
Scaffolding, Bras and Safety Nets: On Support Systems
There's A Hug At The End Of This Post*