Do Not Stop Caring — Fifteen Reminders For Tender-Hearted Smart People

Do not stop caring. No matter if your co-workers scoff at you for your idealistic enthusiasm.

(photo courtesy of Kevin Quezada, Unsplash)

Do not stop caring. Ignore the cynics and pessimists who say all is lost.

Do not stop caring. Remind yourself that the truly intelligent ones are the optimists-with-ideas

Do not stop caring. Even when your colleagues and family members suggest that smart people do not love so indiscriminately.

Do not stop caring. When your empathy has you exhausted, take breaks and fill yourself back up.

Do not stop caring. If you have been told that the masculine thing to do is to toughen up. (Are we still saying that in 2021?) Give that little child in you a big hug and tell them tenderness is the real strength.

Do not stop caring. If you have been told that the feminine thing to do is to be quiet and look pretty. (Are we still saying that in 2021?) Give that little child in you a big hug and tell them to start singing their songs, loudly and with abandon.

Do not stop caring. Even if you are the only one you know who sees deeply into the complexity of the situation. Even if humans are always disappointing you.

Do not stop caring. You are an art-work-in-progress. You do not need to be perfect. You can not please everyone; you are not supposed to.

Do not stop caring. Remember that song? Measure your life in love.

Do not stop caring. Even when you are ready to quit because everyone is depending on you and you are so tired of it. Remember that setting boundaries and having limits are both very healthy and necessary behaviors. Even if you are able to do the thing, that does not mean you have to do the thing.

Do not stop caring. Remember to let your spiritual practice, Nature, your Aunt Gretchen, and your trusty puppy Fido nourish you.

Do not stop caring. Even if you still haven’t found the right therapist and you are having a bad hair day.

Do not stop caring. You may be on the leading edge of exploring higher consciousness with your awareness, intuition, perception, and longing for justice for all races, religions, genders, sexual orientations, cultures, and ethnicities. Keep seeking other rainforest minds to join you in your vision.

Do not stop caring. Even if ordinary reality looks kinda bleak at times. Remember that non-ordinary reality also exists and it is quite amazing.

Do not stop caring. When you are not sure what actions to take to create a better world, ask your Heart what it wants to say and do. Trust your Heart.

And, if you need to get a boost for your overwhelmed, aching, languishing, tender heart, watch this powerful short video from the international kids video troupe, the World Hope Project. It will lift you up. (And for you Spanish speakers, here is Dear Mother Earth in Spanish!)


To my dearest bloggEEs: Are you tired? Overwhelmed? Wondering what to do next? Let us know how you are doing. What are you thinking, feeling, and doing that helps you care when others don’t? Sending much love to you.

Author: Paula Prober

I’m a psychotherapist and consultant in private practice based in Eugene, Oregon. I specialize in international consulting with gifted adults and parents of gifted children. I’ve been a teacher and an adjunct instructor at the University of Oregon and a frequent guest presenter at Oregon State University and Pacific University. I’ve written articles on giftedness for the Eugene Register-Guard, the Psychotherapy Networker, Advanced Development Journal and online for psychotherapy dot net, Rebelle Society, Thrive, Introvert Dear, and Highly Sensitive Refuge. My first book, Your Rainforest Mind: A Guide to the Well-Being of Gifted Adults and Youth, is a collection of case studies of gifted clients along with many strategies and resources for gifted adults and teens. My second book, Journey Into Your Rainforest Mind: A Field Guide for Gifted Adults and Teens, Book Lovers, Overthinkers, Geeks, Sensitives, Brainiacs, Intuitives, Procrastinators, and Perfectionists is a collection of my most popular blog posts along with writing exercises for self-exploration and insight.

24 responses to “Do Not Stop Caring — Fifteen Reminders For Tender-Hearted Smart People”

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  1. Someti Avatar

    Hey! Thanks for the song in Spanish!! I have been very busy lately, but I have been following your blog. I didn’t want to leave without commenting this post, even if it is just to say thank you. 🙂

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  4. agingpotential Avatar

    This is such an unpopular stance in the larger world, and must be why it brought such a tear to my eye after which I found myself skipping happy. We must remind each other of the importance of caring in spite of it’s unpopular stance. When we are tired, discouraged and can’t take another step we might reach out to places like this and remember why we care and begin again. I send loving care in particular to those who feel they can’t go another step today. Take time to rest, & fill yourself up however that might need to work for our unique needs. I will read this dear message to my clients this week, Paula. Thank you for this loveliness. I believe it could be the start of an evolution of care. Think of it!!

    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      Thank you for sharing this with your clients, agingpotential, and for sharing with us.

  5. Mieke Paulissen Avatar
    Mieke Paulissen

    Thank you for chearing and caring.

    This song, I learned to know a year ago and I like it a lot.


    Mieke [] ” La tendresse ” de Bourvil ” La tendresse ” de Bourvil

    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      Thank you for the song, Mieke. La tendresse! Beautiful.

  6. Jen Merrill Avatar
    Jen Merrill

    I’m just so utterly exhausted from caring. Even taking breaks and enforcing self-care I’m on fumes. The end of the school year can’t come soon enough.

    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      Sending you many hugs, Jen. This year, being a teacher and a parent, during a pandemic….heart-breaking and exhausting.

  7. Luisa Avatar

    Paula!! Thank you so, so much for this post which I didn’t know I needed to read until now. I’ve been following your blog for ages, but this is the first time I will actually leave a comment. Apologies in advance if this will get a little out of hand.

    I am 25, currently studying Psychology as a second undergrad – and a trained EMT, working part-time in a Medical Centre for the GPs. I am from Germany, and we’re currently vaccinating people, but that’s all on top of the actual work that needs to be done anyway, and we don’t get any additional staff for that.

    Technically, I’m only supposed to come in twice a week because I’m doing this as a side job alongside my studies at Uni, but these days, I’m always staying longer and am working extra shifts etc because it’s so much.

    So, at work, just like in EMS, I often felt that I was considered a bit odd or even naive because I would often go that extra mile and try and make time to listen to the patients‘ stories for a minute longer, or calm their fears, or simply chat because I often had the sense that we may be the only people they were going to speak to on that day.

    It’s what makes working in healthcare so worthwhile and wonderful for me, but it’s also the reason why it can be very draining at times: trying to be compassionate and attentive, in a nutshell, be the person you want to be and who you think the patients deserve, in a system which simply isn’t designed to provide you with the time and resources to do exactly that.

    Last Wednesday, I came home from work and all I did was lie on my bed with the curtains drawn.

    My colleagues, be it in the hospital or EMS or the Medical Centre, are inspiring and committed people, from the doctor I work for to the man who comes in every evening to collect our blood samples. For that, I’m immensely grateful.

    And yet, I can tell they’re doing certain things differently. They are more practical. Cutting people short when they need to because there is no time. And I can tell that they are sometimes puzzled by my way of doing my job. By the stories I listen to, the extra phone calls I make, all that.

    One time, in EMS, there was a woman who had called us for an emergency which she felt was very embarrassing for her.
    And in the back of the ambulance, where I was chatting with her as we drove of to the hospital, I could feel she was uncomfortable and I told her that she didn’t have anything to be ashamed about and that she had every right to call us.
    And there and then, just like that, she started crying, and took my hand, and I held it. I was relatively new then, just some girl who had been a literature and philosophy student not even half a year prior to that.
    But it made me realise how going that extra mile to treat someone with the attention and kindness and respect they deserve can make all the difference. How it sometimes may even help restore the dignity physical illness is taking from people, because, really, it sometimes is. I’ve seen enough not to have any illusions about that.

    And it gave me a sense of what kind of EMT I would like to be. And yet.

    I’ve often wondered whether I’m cut from the right cloth to work in the medical field, what with my sensitivity and worries and questions and all. There are so many colleagues of mine who are very different from me in that respect.

    But I’ve come to realise that my supposed weaknesses are also my strengths. That I can make people feel save, and listened to, and simply seen. And I’ve grown confident that I can do this work and still be myself and find my own way of doing what I’m doing. Even if it means going that extra mile. Even if it means that I sometimes fall short in this balancing act that is being in Uni, being a good friend, and working in healthcare during a pandemic. Even if it means lying on my bed on a Wednesday afternoon with the curtains closed. Despite everything, I wouldn’t trade my life with anyone else’s.

    And your blog is helping me every step of the way.

    Paula, I can’t say it enough – thank you!

    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      Sometimes we have to ” lie on my bed with the curtains drawn.” So glad to have you join our commenters, Luisa. And from Germany!

  8. Marina Berts Avatar
    Marina Berts

    Dear Paula, thank you so much for your post. It really made me cry this morning – to know that there are others out there who also care and who will not stop caring in spite of negative colleagues and relatives. And especially somebody very special (you!) who encourages me/us not to stop caring, that is indeed comforting.
    A big thanks also for your more personal blog posts, I enjoyed reading them, feeling that I know a bit more about you, your fascination for tango… and about your beautiful curls (feeling a bit envious about them, though, haha!)! Greeting from Switzerland where the most magnificent tulips are in full bloom – take care, all of you, wherever you are, and go on caring.

    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      Thank you, Marina from Switzerland! Am imagining the tulips.

  9. Katinka Wondergem Avatar
    Katinka Wondergem

    Thank you, Paula. Surrounded by negativity and pessimistic colleagues, this came at the exact right time. Where they bring me down (it’s not always nice to be a sponge for other people’s emotions), your words just lifted me up. Sending positivity to all who need it from Japan.

    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      We will accept! From Japan! Thank you.

  10. Unschooling - een leven lang leren Avatar
    Unschooling – een leven lang leren

    A very uplifting and powerful post. Thank you, again.
    I actually told myself to quit, and stop caring, last summer. It is needed for my survival.
    I did give up, I quit, as it is all too hard. Trying to find peace knowing I broke the chains, in many ways, brought happy, strong, self aware children into this world.

    Reading this is a good reminder that love and hope can be powerful forces. Please write some more. Connect and care was always my slogan, in work. It just never worked out. So I have quit.

    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      I will keep writing, dear Unschooling. It seems that raising happy, strong, self-aware children is quite caring, don’t you think? Sometimes it gets to be too much. Then the rest of us hold you up until you can care again. <3

      1. Unschooling - een leven lang leren Avatar
        Unschooling – een leven lang leren

        yes, that is caring… it is more in my personal, work space that the caring did not work out. Or the connecting. Children are really good in caring and connecting. Adults not so much. Thank you for the uplifting. You are a beacon of light.

  11. hksounds/ Joy in HK Avatar
    hksounds/ Joy in HK

    Stop caring about this beautiful planet and the life it carries and sustains? Never. That is completely inconceivable. I do think we, humans, are probably a failed species, but I could be wrong. And one can still care regardless of projected outcomes. We have to do what we can as long as we can. That’s what I believe and have since I was a small child.

    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      There is a positive outlook to our futures here, Joy, if you want to check it out.

  12. Carol Avatar

    Yes, I am tired. I want to move to a cabin deep in the woods and just stay there. I am working on healing and replenishing and letting go. Earth is a HUGE replenisher. I’m here for her, and NO, all is NOT lost! I know it. I’ve been reading some news that there have been victories in regard to protection of wildlife, ecosystems, plants.. And I love to read about how animals and plants are coming back!!! No, all is not lost. And I use my energy to help.We’re not supposed to suffer as we do our thing here. We have to remember to keep our vibes high, rest, heal, and put ourselves first. <3

    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      Yes, Carol, there is good news. And each of us can find how best we can contribute. Healing ourselves is an important part of the process. Thank you.

  13. peabodyrus Avatar

    Not caring really isn’t even an option – I’ve tried for decades! Even when my intellectual self is able to convince me it’s worked, when the eventual stab of caring whacks me again, the brain can only sigh . . . On the other hand, when that whack comes along it doesn’t necessitate my acting upon it. When the feeling is caused by still caring about a person who’s hurt me, I can stop short of trying to help. When the feeling overwhelms me but my bank account simply can’t take another hit, I can refrain from sending money. I can teach my brain to behave self-protectively, but I can’t teach me to stop caring. But after all these years, at least the caring is less self-destructive!

    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      These are important points, peabodyrus. Important to set boundaries around people who are toxic/abusive. Caring does not necessarily mean acting. Healthy caring is not self-destructive. Thank you for bringing this up!!

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