I stumbled upon a term the other day of which I have been pondering ever since I heard it. The term is "Care Getting." I know... it's like a foreign language to many of us. No doubt, we all know the antonym to this bizarre combination of words -- "Care Giving," especially if you are a parent, but Care Getting? The concept, alone, incited a bit of confusion in me despite my clear understanding of each of the words when standing apart as well as the validity of the overall meaning when pooled together.
Needless to say, I am cognizant that my reaction is not a good one and reveals much about who I am and how I have lived up till now. I am a "Care Giver" and have been all of my life. Care Getting has always been uncomfortable for me -- having been rather unfamiliar with it throughout most of my childhood years. We all have our ghosts. Mine just happen to come outfitted with a sign that noted "HELPER" as oppose to "HELPEE."
This isn't to say that I have spent every moment since my youth devoid of the care, kindness, and love that comes with being part of a wonderful family or blessed with close friends. My cup runneth over here, I assure you. It just means that the mental exercise I put myself through every time I met an outpouring of concern and affection has been very real and painstakingly exhausting with no good sense to it at all, especially when given the notion that one cannot adequately continue to "Care Give" without regularly allowing herself to Care Get.
And yet, knowing this has not made it any easier... until I abruptly encountered the term Care Getting that is. For some reason, hearing those words placed side by side a few days ago triggered an awakening in me of sort. No longer content with feeling the guilt I previously associated with receiving care from another or that which I occasionally indulged upon myself, the realization of my misbegotten lunacy has finally penetrated the inner workings of my brain as oppose to just lying on the surface where it has lingered for many years... no doubt secure in the knowledge that it would spend an eternity in exactly that place.
Admittedly, the change in my understanding and view on the matter has altered my life significantly in a very short period of time. It's increased the quality of my relationships and daily interactions with others in places I had not previously considered lacking. It's positively impacted my work -- upping my normally high energy level and natural curiosity as well as making me that much more determined to accomplish certain projects that have taken their own sweet time coming together. It's expanded my awareness further when it comes to "Care Giving" to others and inspired me to support those in need in ways that never occurred to me before. It's made me more generous of heart, time, and pocket. And it has granted me a license to make personal and profession choices based upon a healthier perspective.
Honestly, I feel much more whole and fulfilled than I ever have before. My one regret is that I had not come upon the Care Getting term sooner or at least integrated its meaning into my life prior to now. It is a regret I will have to live with -- one which will aid me in further understanding and coping with other's imperfections and weaknesses, I am sure.
Once confused with "selfishness," allowing myself to Care Get is one of the most "selfless" acts I could invite into my life as well as teach my children. It's part of the glue that instigates and bonds lovers, friends, and family together -- beyond any other relationship experienced. Without it, relationships such as these are surely compromised. Certainly contributing one more tool to my children's tool boxes in this regard -- despite the late date -- is in both their and my best interests.
In short, everyone serves to benefit from Care Getting. To accept a life without it is as good as inviting one's own soul to starve. We have all seen those people possessing little impetus or inclination to smile. I suspect many of them aren't getting, accepting, or expecting the care they deserve.
I leave you to ponder if you are?