Thinking about Care by Maria Shriver

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I’VE BEEN THINKING by Maria Shriver-Sunday, March 12, 2017

This week, I’ve been thinking a lot about care. The word. The concept. The act of it.

Care was something that was front and center in our political discourse this week. The Republicans put forth their new healthcare proposal (a.k.a. Trumpcare) on Monday and spent the week debating it. Meanwhile, the Democrats (like my cousin Congressman Joe Kennedy III) took to the floor to fight for retaining the Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. Obamacare).

Care was also front and center of my mind on Wednesday, International Women’s Day. I got to thinking about all of the millions of women whose lives are devoted to caregiving — whether that’s because it’s their profession, or simply because it’s who they are and what they do.

I also thought about care on a personal level this week. I had a small surgery on Monday that made me dependent on the care of others. My children cared for me, first and foremost. Then there were the doctors and nurses who I didn’t even know, but who stepped up to care for me and care about me during my time of need.

All of this got me thinking about what care means to me in the most practical of terms. How do I define care? What do I care about personally, professionally and politically? How do I show that I care? How do I know someone cares about me, or will care for me? Can a political leader really make you feel cared for? Can your boss? Should he or she even have to care about you?

I think so. I think care is one of the most valuable and important principles for a healthy family and for a healthy country.

I think this is a good time for all of us to think about what care means to us. Many see care as soft, but it’s anything but. Care is a tough, muscular concept. It takes courage to care. It takes passion to stand up for someone or something that you believe in and care about.

This week, I had the chance to speak with a few Architects of Change who have put care front and center in their lives. I was so moved by their caring and so inspired by their work. Their caring has literally changed lives and they are worthy of being honored here in The Sunday Paper. (I hope you will also be touched by their stories, which you will find below.)

I myself am trying to build a more conscious, caring, compassionate and connected world, and I’m trying to do that while also not caring too much about what others think about me and how I live my life.

We must each balance our own idea of care with the world’s cold sharp judgments that stop the tender-hearted among us from stepping forward. Remember, those who judge you don’t know you, nor do they care about who you really are. If we want to find our passion and our purpose, we have to care about something deeply, and yet not care about what other people say about what we’re doing. So, care for yourself. Care for others. But don’t care too much what others think or say. Get that right and you can change the world.

My mother used to always say to me, “If you have your health, you have everything.” I would add that if you have someone who truly cares for you and about you, then you have something money can never buy. You have the whole wide world.

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