caring vs. loving

“The Lovers” by Rene Magritte, 1928

I came across this thought the other day:
“You can never love too much, but you can care too much.”
So, when I have these thoughts of just changing a word around in a sentence, I like to look up the dictionary meaning of the words.

2. serious attention or consideration applied to doing something correctly or to avoid damage or risk: he planned his departure with great care.
• an object of concern or attention: the cares of family life.
• a feeling of or occasion for anxiety: she was driving along without a care in the world.
1. [ often with negative ] feel concern or interest; attach importance to something: they don’t care about human life | [ with clause ] : I don’t care what she says.
• feel affection or liking: you care very deeply for him.
• (care for something/care to do something) like or be willing to do or have something: would you care for some tea? | I don’t care to listen to him.

1. an intense feeling of deep affection: babies fill parents with intense feelings of love | their love for their country.
• a deep romantic or sexual attachment to someone: it was love at first sight | they were both in love with her | we were slowly falling in love .

Obviously, we’d rather have someone say to us that they “love” us over they “care for us”. But, what I’m getting at is when you find yourself caring too much.
We can get attached to an outcome or an alternate reality - obsessive at times. Maybe you’ve found yourself caring a little too much about that ex of his/hers - “what are they all about?”, “I wonder what they think of me.”, “Are they thinking of me?”, “What is their story?”, “I wonder if they’re better looking than me.”

Or maybe you’ve found yourself caring too much about a situation - “what if this doesn’t pan out?”, “what will people think of me if this happens?”, etc. Maybe you find yourself smothering something or someone.

It’s a lot of “What ifs?” and a lot of energy spent on possibilities and maybes.

But to love someone…..
I don’t think I’ve ever heard or read in my life that someone loved too much. I think long and hard about it and I can’t see it. How could a person love too much? I’m going to go ahead and definitively say that one cannot possibly love too much.

Because love is endless. It’s bottomless. It’s unconditional. What does “unconditional” mean? It means you do this without any hope of a reciprocation. In other words, “conditional love” (which sounds like an oxymoron to me) requires something in return for your love. i.e.: “I did this and that for you and you didn’t do jack for me. You don’t deserve my love. I loved you. The least you could do was just do blah dee blah for me in return.”
Yeah, that sounds healthy and balanced.
I guess it’s important to state the difference between being “in love” and “to love” someone. “In love” is infatuation. If some couples are lucky, they remain in love for the entire relationship. But there are still couples who have passed on from the “in love” stage to just “love” and that’s just as lucky….because to love someone is to live.
No matter what a person (could be multiple people, like family, friends, etc.) could possibly do wrong to you or just in general, if you love them, that emotion remains fixed.

There are no questions in regards to love.

To close, here’s my story of when I realized that I loved Nick.
We were not together. We were dating other people….but that emotion was overwhelming. I knew that regardless of the outcome, he needed to know this. Regardless if he reciprocated my emotion, I knew that I loved him and would always love him. So, I told him. I told him a mere two months after having met him.
And guess what? He told me “he cared for me a lot”. It didn’t hurt to hear those words. They were sweet and true.
I knew that my emotion was fixed. I felt better for sharing it with him.
Of course he loves me now and it didn’t take him long to realize that he felt the same (notice I didn’t say “reciprocate”). People realize and accept this emotion, if it’s there, at different points on their paths.
It’s theirs and theirs alone to travel.
It was because of this courage to tell him my feelings that I knew it was authentic.

So, to care too much is borderline “co-dependency”. You become attached to an outcome. You can care too much.
However, you can never love too much.

I challenge you to love. Realize and accept what you truly love. Stop caring so much. Start loving so much.