The radical act of caring

In a world that tells us to look out for ourselves, it can be the ultimate act of rebellion to care about things beyond your own scope.

Many people can look to what is ailing the world and feel empathy, feel pained. Some people will even do something about it, though for many it’s as simple as sharing the message and their grief. There is an acceptance, broadly, that sharing in the sorrows of the world is an acceptable response (though the less said about those that police the grief people show over the deaths of their favourite celebrities the better).

There is strangely more acceptance of empathising with disaster than there is sharing in the joy of success. There’s often a question of “why do they care so much?” “What do they get out of it?” “Why are they sacrificing X to help?”. There is a fundamental mistrust of those that want to celebrate the achievements of people in the world, but in my eyes that is the key to community and to personal and professional happiness.

When somebody has succeeded at something, it means they have executed a change in the world. An action of theirs has fundamentally changed the scope of things. Whether it’s the successful application for funding for a community project, mounting an event, getting married, having a child, getting a damn good haircut, posting a beautiful selfie, or completing a marathon, they have changed the game, whether it’s in a small way or a big way. Celebrating that change, the potential of that change, and the joy they’re expressing is one of the most beautiful things in the world.

It’s not about bragging rights. It’s not about riding tailcoats. It’s about genuinely finding joy that somebody is doing well. It’s understanding that we are all a community, and we all benefit from that happiness. It’s not being present to say you were there, but rather being present for that person to know you care.

In a world that wants us to look only to ourselves, our own advancement, our own small existence, isn’t that the best way to show rebellion?

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