How Much Is Too Much?

How Much Is Too Much?

When is caring for people really worth it?
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There have been really difficult times in my life where I feel as if my compassion is a negative quality. I think there are times I’ve cared for people far more than I should have, and I think, ultimately, that can hurt us as people. But how do you know where to draw the line? How do you know if caring for a particular person is going to end up negatively affecting you?

This past year of my life, this topic has been heavy on my heart. I struggle with wanting to be there for people and wanting to love people well. I’m a sympathizer. I feel sorrow for people and their hard times. But when is the care that I have for them too much? It’s too much when it’s hurting you more than it’s helping them. It’s too much when you’re consistently drained, and you can’t get anything back. Despite this, it’s important to care without wanting anything in return—with truly selfless intent—but there are times you NEED to be poured back into, whether it’s by that specific person or even others.

This past year, I learned a lot about that. I learned what it means to truly care, and I learned that it’s easy to care too much for people who don’t receive it. More importantly, I learned that it’s worth caring about people because you just might find somebody who cares for you the same way, and that’s beautiful to me.

I’ve recently made a friend who has displayed what true friendship means, and it has drastically impacted my friendships to come. I am used to sympathizing with people. It’s something that’s familiar, but that sympathy is usually towards people that have struggled like I have. One day, I was sitting with my friend in the middle of a deli restaurant. He was real with me. He shared what he struggled with, and he explained how it affected him throughout his entire life. Now, this wasn’t something I had any idea about struggling with. This burden was never one that I had to carry, but for the first time, I found myself not only sympathizing but also empathizing. My heart was straight up broken for a person, and I had never experienced that before. But I’m glad I did.

As people, I think a large portion of us have the ability to be solely driven by our emotions. As an INTJ, I am personally more logical, but this situation was different. There are some people who pull on your heart strings. There are some people who are heavy with weight, but I know that true friendship is choosing to carry more weight because you care for that person. While we were at this deli, I was casually crying my eyes out, and I shared the things I had struggled with, too. Not because I felt like I had to, but solely because I wanted somebody to know who I was and where I had been. He didn’t have to sympathize or empathize with me, but he chose to. He chose to speak life into my life. He chose to care, too.

I’ve cared for people too much. Maybe they didn’t have anything to give. Maybe they didn’t care. But it was those feelings and emotions that felt wasted at one point that truly defined what it means to me to truly care. You don’t have to be through all of your problems to be able to pour into people. You don’t have to drop all your weight to carry somebody else’s. Pouring is a choice. Taking a little bit more weight is a choice. Caring is a choice.

I hope you have people, like my new best friend, who care just as much for you as you do for them. I hope you realize that you both bear the weight of what you struggle with. I hope you pour with pure selflessness. I hope you don’t worry about being empty. I hope you are brave enough to know when you’re caring too much. I hope you are willing to care for people you never expected to care for. It’s in these times that we are brave enough to care that we find people that stick around—friendships that LAST. I think that it’s worth it, you know, caring for people. I think it shows us what we’re capable of, and most importantly, I think it has the ability to bring us to people that change our lives forever.

Thank you to my new pal for showing me true friendship. You made the impact, and I am forever changed because of your vulnerability and kindness.

Cover Image Credit: Foursquare.com

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I'm The Girl Without A 'Friend Group'

And here's why I'm OK with it

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Little things remind me all the time.

For example, I'll be sitting in the lounge with the people on my floor, just talking about how everyone's days went. Someone will turn to someone else and ask something along the lines of, "When are we going to so-and-so's place tonight?" Sometimes it'll even be, "Are you ready to go to so-and-so's place now? Okay, we'll see you later, Taylor!"

It's little things like that, little things that remind me I don't have a "friend group." And it's been like that forever. I don't have the same people to keep me company 24 hours of the day, the same people to do absolutely everything with, and the same people to cling to like glue. I don't have a whole cast of characters to entertain me and care for me and support me. Sometimes, especially when it feels obvious to me, not having a "friend group" makes me feel like a waste of space. If I don't have more friends than I can count, what's the point in trying to make friends at all?

I can tell you that there is a point. As a matter of fact, just because I don't have a close-knit clique doesn't mean I don't have any friends. The friends I have come from all different walks of life, some are from my town back home and some are from across the country. I've known some of my friends for years, and others I've only known for a few months. It doesn't really matter where they come from, though. What matters is that the friends I have all entertain me, care for me, and support me. Just because I'm not in that "friend group" with all of them together doesn't mean that we can't be friends to each other.

Still, I hate avoiding sticking myself in a box, and I'm not afraid to seek out friendships. I've noticed that a lot of the people I see who consider themselves to be in a "friend group" don't really venture outside the pack very often. I've never had a pack to venture outside of, so I don't mind reaching out to new people whenever.

I'm not going to lie, when I hear people talking about all the fun they're going to have with their "friend group" over the weekend, part of me wishes I could be included in something like that. I do sometimes want to have the personality type that allows me to mesh perfectly into a clique. I couldn't tell you what it is about me, but there is some part of me that just happens to function better one-on-one with people.

I hated it all my life up until very recently, and that's because I've finally learned that not having a "friend group" is never going to be the same as not having friends.

SEE ALSO: To The Girls Who Float Between Friend Groups

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What It's Actually Like Moving States

How a central Iowa born and raised native ended up in Southern Missouri.

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Not a lot of people think moving states is a hard thing to do. If it's two hours away or, like me, seven hours away from your hometown, a move is a move and it can affect people in different ways.

Personally, my family was separated for a year, my mom and I still living in our hometown so I could finish high school, and my dad in Missouri working at his new job.

Then, in June my mom and I made the move so our family could be together once again. For us, we still had our home in Iowa, so my parents and I lived in an apartment until we could sell our home in Iowa and find what we wanted in Missouri.

The hardest things to get used too is the lifestyle of people in southern Missouri. People are a lot different down here than they were in Iowa. It was a big deal for us to move down here and adapt to a different lifestyle.

Something minor that was very hard to get used to was the usage of pop and soda. Most people don't even know what a "pop," is. In Iowa, a Pepsi or Coke is known as pop but down here it is called a soda.

That is just one example that was super hard to get used to. Something that is a little more of a big deal is the size of the city. In Iowa, I could get a coffee in about a five-minute drive. In Missouri, it takes a good fifteen minutes to drive there and who knows what the line will be like at the coffee shop. Those are minor things that my family struggled with adapting to.

Easily, the hardest thing was leaving friends and family. I came to Branson in the middle summer. This limited my job opportunities to none and made making new friends next to impossible.

This made my summer really hard and honestly boring. I knew this was best for my family, but I missed my friends and I wanted to be back in Iowa where all my friends were and my job used to be.

There were also a lot of perks from moving away from Iowa. First off, I completely went off the grid of my town and wanted to start completely new. I made new social media accounts and got a new phone number.

This made the transition easy because I was able to be who I wanted to be and keep in touch with the people I wanted to keep in touch with. This is something that a lot of people thought was pointless, but was such an important step for a fresh start.

Coming to Missouri, I know that sky is the limit and I have so many more opportunities of what I want to do. Overall, I would suggest moving states and starting knew. It feels good to finally be in a place that makes you truly happy as well as your family. Iowa is a fun place to visit sometimes and I'll always miss the sunsets but Missouri is my new home.

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