I never used to think of myself as a selfish person.
But once I started looking at my behavior with an open mind I couldn’t help but notice that I always put myself first and usually treat other people as disposable.
This has got me asking: why don’t I care about others?
It’s also got me asking about ways I can start being a bit less self-centered.
1) Get your wires uncrossed
Why don’t I care about others?
Well, this can often be a confusing question. That’s because we may associate it with caring about what others think and their judgments.
But the truth is that you can care about others and their wellbeing without validating everything they believe and say.
Think of it in the family context, for example.
You can care about and love your sister and work to help her with a health problem she’s having without validating her negative opinion about your wife.
You don’t need to care what other people think in order to care about other people.
You don’t need to be apathetic about others: you can ignore their opinions while still caring about helping them out when you can.
2) Put down the cheap wine of tragedy
One of the worst decisions I ever made in life was to get drunk on the cheap wine of tragedy.
I focused on all the ways I was a victim and being treated unfairly by life and by others.
This made me stop caring about other people and seeing them only as rivals and a faceless herd of enemies who didn’t understand me.
The root cause was that I felt like a powerless victim.
I felt like I needed to focus only on my own survival and benefit…
So how can you overcome this insecurity that’s been nagging you?
The most effective way is to tap into your personal power.
You see, we all have an incredible amount of power and potential within us, but most of us never tap into it. We become bogged down in self-doubt and limiting beliefs. We stop doing what brings us true happiness.
I learned this from the shaman Rudá Iandê. He’s helped thousands of people align work, family, spirituality, and love so they can unlock the door to their personal power.
He has a unique approach that combines traditional ancient shamanic techniques with a modern-day twist. It’s an approach that uses nothing but your own inner strength – no gimmicks or fake claims of empowerment.
Because true empowerment needs to come from within.
In his excellent free video, Rudá explains how you can create the life you’ve always dreamed of and increase attraction in your partners, and it’s easier than you might think.
So if you’re tired of living in frustration, dreaming but never achieving, and of living in self-doubt, you need to check out his life-changing advice.
3) Recognize your limits
One of the most common reasons why I sometimes don’t care about others is that I know I can’t solve their problems. And it’s true…
There’s a limited amount you can do for people in many ways. But being honest about your limits and recognizing them can actually be very empowering…
There are many situations where you can’t help someone in any outer way.
For example a friend may need a loan that you’re simply unable to provide.
Or they may be suffering from a disease that you know nothing about and have no time to research treatment options on in a way that won’t just end up being meddlesome.
But take a look at what you can still do.
You can still be a shoulder to cry on…
You can still be a sympathetic ear…
You can still refer them to a friend or colleague who has more to offer in this situation than you do.
Sometimes just showing you care can be a big step forward, too.
4) Look at the world in a new way
One of the top reasons that some people stop caring about others is a dark view of the world.
They look at climate catastrophe, global pandemics and war and feel threatened and endangered.
This makes them shut down, stay home and avoid other people and their problems.
“It’s not my problem, man!” is the rallying cry of these people.
They just want to go to their job, get their paycheck, get their healthcare and watch the latest sportsball tournament on TV on the weekend.
“The world is a mess and it’s made you stop caring. About, well…. anything. Is it okay to feel like nothing matters? Or are there times when apathy is a serious red flag?”
As Blundell goes on to note, there are many times when apathy and depression can become serious enough that you’re better off seeking help from a professional.
Let’s be clear: we don’t all have some obligation to become a climate crusader or an international peace activist.
And it’s good to be honest sometimes that an issue is just beyond you and you don’t care about it in any direct way.
But at the same time, we are all linked, and you’d be surprised how seeing the humanity and interconnectedness of everything can leave you with tears running down your cheeks.
A small child starving in Yemen really isn’t that different from you when you were a young age, except for the horrific circumstance they were born into.
5) Don’t give yourself away too much
One of the worst things that can happen to sensitive and creative people is that they give too much of themselves away.
This then leaves them burned out without any more energy to care for others.
Hell – they can’t even care for themselves.
If you’re feeling that you just can’t muster up any concern or interest in others anymore, then first ask yourself how much you respect yourself.
Far too many of the most selfish and egotistical people in the world aren’t actually looking after themselves well at all. They’re trying to paper over their own inner dissociation with outer accomplishment.
That’s why it’s important to respect your own limits.
Save some time that’s just for you. Spend time alone in nature. Breathe in the air of our mystical and magical world.
Leave some space just for yourself, some spiritual and energetic solitude where you don’t explain anything to anyone and just look after yourself.
You deserve it.
6) Embrace change – even when it hurts
One of the biggest reasons why I used to not care about others, was that I found them too unpredictable.
I thought of the time and energy I’d invested into friendships or relationships that didn’t last or didn’t go how I’d hoped…
And then I used this to justify an uncaring attitude toward new people I met.
After all, here’s just more folks I’ll stop talking to in a few months again, right? Why bother?
“I could say you’ll keep all your friends until the day you die and that your relationships will age like fine wine…
“But I could also say that unicorns exist. Doesn’t make it true.
“Most of my friendships have come and gone. Some have come and gone a few times — but they haven’t really stayed. People forget.”
The thing is that this doesn’t mean you should give up on caring about others.
The only constant in life is change.
But the memories we make will still last forever.
7) Stop guarding against the pain of loss
This gets at some deeper psychological stuff, but it’s important to mention:
Sometimes not caring about other people is a way to guard against the pain of loss.
I really believe that.
“I have so many people who care about me. And I am very good at pretending I care. But the truth is I could care less if I never saw them again.
“Some of these people believe me to be their closest friends and family members. I have felt relief when family and friends die.
“Not because I’m happy about their death, but because I no longer have the burden of dealing with them and pretending that I care.”
Cmo deserves credit here for being brutally honest.
But what he or she is expressing isn’t as simple as it seems. Hidden under this kind of attitude is a deep fear of losing those we love.
What easier way to stop that pain than to block ourselves from caring in the first place?
But here’s the thing:
None of us are getting out of this world alive, and guarding against the pain of loss won’t work at the end of the day, especially if you find yourself alone in the end with nobody who cares about you…
8) Find the power of a tribe
One of the biggest problems in the modern world in my view is the lack of group belonging.
As author and journalist Sebastian Junger discusses in his excellent book Tribe, we’ve become so individualistic and abstract that we’ve lost the bonds of hardship and solidarity that used to tie us together.
Now we often believe that the less people we care about the more powerful we are.
But the truth is the opposite.
The more you care about others the more you care about yourself.
Think of it in a community metaphor. If you only care about your home and yard and build up a nice fence and security system while the neighborhood descends into gangs and chaos, you may think you’ve got it made.
But if the entire town eventually burns down and gets abandoned it won’t matter if your home is still standing: there will be nowhere left to get food and basic services.
We need to care about each other to survive, even in this crazy modern world!
9) Check out some of the benefits of other people not caring
One of the top reasons that people stop caring about people is that they see that others don’t care about them very much.
This then causes you to ask yourself why you should bother.
If the bulk of people you come across don’t give a rat’s ass about your wellbeing, why waste your time giving to them and caring about them?
That’s one way to think about it, but black and white generalizations are also rarely accurate and the truth is that there are far more kind people in the world than many of us imagine…
Plus, for all those who really don’t care about us, think of some of the benefits.
For one thing, you can ditch the feeling of being so self-conscious, because chances are people aren’t as judgmental about your new hairstyle or lifestyle as you think.
“There’s one thing that can free you from the heat of the spotlight: realizing that nobody cares as much as you think they do.”
10) Upgrading from selective empathy
We are all born from a specific biological and evolutionary past.
Our ancestors lived in difficult situations and survived horrors that we can barely comprehend in our modern world.
Part of that survival came about from a brutally simple trait: selective empathy.
Writing for the Economist, David Eagleman and Don Vaughn make an interesting observation about this:
“Our empathy is selective: we care most about those with whom we share a connection, such as a hometown, a school or a religion.”
If we were heartbroken every time a stranger dies we’d never live our lives.
But at the same time, if you ignore a genocide on another continent because it’s far away you’re taking selective empathy too far.
Upgrading from selective empathy doesn’t mean that you have to join Greenpeace or collapse in tears when you hear about a stranger being robbed.
What it means is just beginning to open your eyes and heart to the suffering in the world and how it touches all of us.
Caring doesn’t have to mean collapsing with compassion: you can also just quietly acknowledge and work to improve things, starting by caring that they’re happening in the first place.
11) Get in touch with your spiritual side
Another of the best things you can do if you’re finding yourself tired of other people and caring about them, is get in touch with your spiritual side.
Even if religion or spirituality has never really been your bag, there are all sorts of ways to approach a spiritual path that don’t involve following any weird gurus or doctrines that weird you out.
I believe that having a metaphysical framework and belief system is crucial to solidarity and human community.
When this erodes away it becomes all too easy to start seeing people as useless hunks of junk who just pollute the world with their presence.
Even if what you discover is humanism or a philosophy like Taoism, let it inform a more comprehensive view of people that ties you to them.
At the very least, keep in mind that life is pretty hard even for the luckiest-looking person on earth.
We’re all on a pretty incredible and difficult journey: giving each other a hand along the way is really the least we can do if you think about it.
12) Annihilate your anhedonia
One of the most common reasons why people become uncaring about others is that they might be suffering from anhedonia. This is when you are so depressed that you stop experiencing pleasure or fulfillment from anything in life.
Delicious food, sizzling sex, exciting ideas, amazing music: it all leaves you feeling absolutely nothing.
“What’s one thing you can do next?
“What is one activity you can try to get yourself feeling better? It doesn’t have to be a grandiose vision quest or a cross-country move.
“It can be starting a garden. It can be walking around the block twice a week.”
It’s not always possible to “force” yourself to care about other people, especially if you have stopped even caring about yourself.
Start caring about yourself and enjoying life again by annihilating the anhedonia that’s been dragging you down.
As you improve your own relationship with yourself you’ll also feel your interest in the wellbeing of others coming back as well.
Open your eyes
The thing about helping out other people is that doing so actually helps you, too.
As I become less selfish I’m finding life more satisfying and rewarding.
Opening my eyes and becoming aware of the situations and needs of those around me is actually a relief.
I feel like I’m waking up from a narcissistic nightmare that kept me entranced for far too long.
I don’t think of myself as a good person: not even close.
What I do instead is focus on concrete things I can do day by day to become more of the person I would be proud to meet and call a friend.
I care about others because I can.
I improve myself because it’s within my power to do and it’s the most worthwhile challenge I’ve come across yet in life.
It’s as simple as that.