Caring Disguised as Agenda
How do we care without agenda?
Whether we want to admit it or not most of us have an agenda to the things that we do and the ways we behave, particularly when it comes to other people. Agenda can be tricky for us to see in ourselves. Often it is disguised as caring, but when we dissect it out further we frequently find that our caring isn’t pure. We discover that we really want something in return for the things we do or the ways that we behave, even if its simply to be talked to, treated or touched a certain way, or to have others love us or show up in a way that we are more comfortable with or desire to be around.
Anytime we want anything in return for the way that we show up, the things we say or ways we behave, our caring is tainted with agenda. Though wanting something in return may seem very normal or innocent to us, or even like we are entitled to it, it creates immense underlying and unnecessary suffering for us which we are often not really aware of. It also creates a situation where we not truly being ourselves. It pulls us out of our authentic self and we become some semblance of “ourselves” that we’ve learned to be and which we think gets us what we want from others. Often these ways of being that we’ve learned are so engrained in us that we actually think we are them, when in truth they are just strategies and ways we’ve learned to navigate this world to feel internally safe and comfortable.
There is also often this inherent thing that happens when we care. Its as though caring activates something inside of us that makes us want to control or manipulate the outcome or circumstances of our caring. This can be seen in anything from a project you are working on, a business venture, the creation of a family, a book you’re writing, a relationship that you are in, etc. As soon as we “care” there is this gripping that comes along with our caring. We unconsciously hold our breath, tense up, and can’t stop thinking about how it will turn out, as if any of those actions will help our caring or the outcome. This is where our initial excitement or care for something turns into manipulation, control and ultimately agenda.
Service vs. Slave
Being of service is true caring and that doesn’t arrive until you are completely without personal agendas. This is how you can see/know exactly what will support life rather than trying to “figure it all out”. Whenever there is a personal agenda you will find yourself feeling like a slave rather than feeling like you are being in service. Service is simply being yourself completely and participating with life from the fullness of being yourself; sharing/expressing whatever excitement or thing naturally arises. Service feels effortless and organic even though there is still work and activity involved. Where being a slave is feeling like you have to do something, make something in particular happen, or showing up in ways that are not authentic to you. Slavery feels effortful, disempowering and like something that you have to do or else you won’t be taken care of or things won’t work out for you or others.
Rather than the focus being on what you care about, try shifting your focus onto simply being yourself. For example say you are starting a project or a new relationship and you feel excitement being engaged within it. The excitement is evident, but then the idea of the “future” comes in. What will happen in the future? What will be the future of this project or relationship? We often get so ahead of where we are at that we lose contact with the present moment. We begin to live in a future “idea” rather than where we are now. Most people are living this way. This makes us feel heavy, like things are effortful or hard, when really the effort or hardness is just our own manipulation or control of what is. Things aren’t hard or heavy in and of themselves, its simply our relationship with what is that makes it seem so. We say to ourselves that our caring is motivating us, but really what is motivating us is a particular, hopeful outcome that we have for the project or relationship. With this we begin to feel like a victim to our own desires and like we aren’t in control, which is why we attempt to control and manipulate everything. Our focus is not on being ourselves, but instead on what we think we “care” about. We’ve actually lost touch with caring because we’ve lost touch with ourselves.
This is also where we drop out of being in service and into being a slave. We are really being a slave to ourselves yet we think its to our circumstances and situations. A slave to our own ideas, hopes, dreams and perceived needs to be comfortable and have the illusion of external safety, security and love. We give away being our true selves in exchange for our ideas and with this deep down we feel that we are out of touch with true caring. We may become aloof or feel that its hard to connect with our heart. We see that most of our “caring” is really an attempt to manage and control life. We can even give the illusion that we are “on purpose” because we are doing all the right things yet we feel exhausted and unfulfilled. We are only fooling ourselves.
True caring is being connected to our hearts. This is also how we are most authentically ourselves. With that we no longer need to behave in ways that have underlying self-protective or self-assuring agendas because we know we (and all) are already taken care of and there is no thing we need to manipulate or control, even that which we seem to care about the most. Trust arrives. We can then be truly self-less (which is loving self) and truly without agenda (which is loving other) and experience true caring.
Dr. Amanda Hessel, Chiropractor, Network Spinal Analysis & Somato-Respiratory Integration, Boulder, Colorado