Does nobody seems to care?

Gwen Randall-Young

Occasionally I have clients who are struggling and lament that nobody cares.
Caring for someone means you want to ensure their wellbeing. For some it can mean spending time, agreeing with us, or simply checking in with us.
Sometimes people do care, but not in the way we expect they should. Years ago, I had a client who had not spoken to her daughter for months. The reason for this was the daughter did not call on Mother’s Day until the afternoon. The client expected a call first thing in the morning.
However, she also shared that earlier in the year her daughter and husband took her with them when they had a vacation in Paris! Clearly, they cared about her, but she interpreted an afternoon Mother’s Day call as an indication that she was not important.
People can love us, but that does not necessarily equate with looking after us. There was a time when the kids built houses on the family farm and it was assumed they would care for their elderly parents. In some cultures, it is an honor and a privilege to care for aging parents. Some parents are blessed with children who feel the same. That gives them a sense of security.
Increasingly I hear of parents whose adult children are so wrapped up in their own lives that they do not have time, or do not make it a priority to check in on, or help out their parents. This can leave parents with a lot of resentment. The adult children may pick up on this bitterness and spend even less time with parents.
There is an epidemic of busyness going around. Lives have speeded up and adult children may find they are stretched to the limit with the activities of their own children, along with work demands.
The same can be true of friends. They may not connect with us like before because they are overwhelmed in their own lives.
Whether one feels that adult children or friends just don’ t care, there are two options. The first is to feel hurt, offended and even angry. This leads to years of pain and misery. The second is to figure out ways to take care of oneself, and to be the source of our own happiness. This course involves not judging others and being loving and supportive in our encounters with them.
There are community resources that can be accessed. If help is needed for physical tasks, there are volunteers who might help. One can place an ad on the Chamber of Commerce website for student helpers at a reasonable cost.
If loneliness is an issue, join a group or take a class. You might even become a volunteer yourself. Explore different crafts or hobbies, so you are doing something other than focusing on what is missing in your life.
Happiness is indeed an inside job. If nobody cares, it means it is time for us to genuinely take care of ourselves.
Gwen Randall-Young is an author and award-winning psychologist. For permission to reprint this article, or to obtain books, CDs or MP3s, visit Follow Gwen on Facebook for inspiration.