Imagine a world where nobody cared.
If everyone simply did as they pleased, regardless of the impact it had on others or the world itself, we would begin a cycle of suffering that would reach beyond our worst nightmares. What would be the point of anything? We would each feel completely isolated and afraid to reach out to anyone else.
I existed (read: went through the motions of living, without any real meaning) in an environment which was devoid of compassion, kindness or caring. I cried out for help to the point where I was screaming, pleading for someone ~ anyone ~ to take notice. What I eventually discovered was the ease with which people labeled and judged me. I was a “victim”, they said. Or “not assertive enough.” Or “too sensitive.” Or I simply “liked drama and arguing.” I wondered why people were so quick to dismiss or trivialize the problems I faced. What if they were fighting the same battle? Wouldn’t they want someone to understand, validate and help?
I believe that we must take a closer look at what’s happening with people around us. What are people doing? How are they acting? Are they stressed? Crying out for help? We cannot automatically assume that “someone else” will deal with whatever’s going on with someone. What if there is nobody else? If everyone takes a “that’s not my problem” attitude, it could potentially be a huge problem for all of us. Furthermore, what would we think if everyone we turned to for help told us, “it’s not my problem”? Sometimes people resort to desperate measures to cry out for help, and only then do we wish we had actually paid attention to the signs.
My question is: What is it that people have to gain by not caring? Time? Peace? Freedom from responsibility or having to take action? Those are short-term “rewards”; consider the long-term consequences of such an attitude. Play the “What If?” game.
What if I didn’t care anymore? —-> I would not listen to/help anyone.
What if I didn’t listen to/help anyone? —-> People would consider me unapproachable.
What if people considered me unapproachable? —-> They would become less trusting of me and, perhaps, more cynical about others.
What if they became less trusting of me and, perhaps, more cynical about others? —-> They might distance themselves from me and feel more cautious about others.
What if they distanced themselves from me and felt more cautious about others? —-> We might be afraid to share our problems with others or ask for help.
What if we were afraid to share our problems with others or ask for help? —-> We would feel more isolated.
What if we felt more isolated? —-> We would wish that someone would care.
See what a difference a word makes?