Caring vs careful

There’s a difference between being caring and being careful.

Caring is looking around you, outside you, seeing what needs care, and offering that care.

Caring is a generous and selfless act.

Careful is looking at yourself, inside you, seeing dangers that need to be avoided, and avoiding them.

Careful is often about you and your fears, worries, anxieties.

Selfish is a loaded term. In human society, where for a hundred thousand years togetherness and generosity have kept the collective alive, an accusation of selfishness cuts deep.

But carefulness can be selfish. Excessive carefulness is selfish.

When it becomes routine and habitual, careful is the opposite of caring.

To be careful prevents you from being caring.

Next time you’re around children at play, tune into the presence of the grown-ups around them and the use of the words “be careful”.

For children, to be constantly urged to “be careful” is to be constantly made aware of the endless little dangers of the world.

The world is full of dangers, little and large.

We shouldn’t be naive about them.

But equally, we can’t avoid all of them either, and when we try to avoid them we try to lead a risk-free life.

In choosing a life of excessive carefulness, we miss all the glories that life has to offer.