We All Need A Little CAR

The CAR we all want and need is:

Understanding this very basic people-need can help us to relate more positively to everyone we meet, and knowing how to use this concept can enable us to get a little CAR ourselves. I personally believe this need is present in all human interaction.

In order to get a little CAR you first need to give it to yourself. Once you have the little bit you give yourself, and you have developed the habit of giving a little CAR, you are ready to give it to others. Once you start giving a little CAR to other people, you will find you get a lot of CAR from everyone. It's one of those positive spirals that each person can start creating.

The 'C' stands for Caring, Compassion, and even Kindness. When you treat someone with just a little of this warmth and caring, they will feel comfortable in your company. When you get this from someone else it makes you feel good. Feeling loved and cared about, a person behaves with more confidence and really can blossom. You can get this by giving it. Practice by giving first to yourself. Show yourself you really care, by everything you choose to do. Be Kind to yourself. Give yourself lots of Love. Instead of being super-critical of your actions, just understand that you are human: we all make mistakes. If you do not match up to how you want to be, just be understanding and determined to work harder at being a better you. We sometimes engage in self-destructive behavior, and we don't feel good about ourselves when we do that. Being aware of how much we need to feel cared about can help us to take better care of ourselves. Making a healthy choice is not so much a denial of self-indulgent momentary delights as it is a statement that you care about yourself. Play all those "do" and "don't" tapes from Mom's nagging over again in your head, and you will be reminded of many ways Mom showed she cared. You can show yourself you care by mothering (nurturing) yourself in the choices you make. [And if you didn't happen to have a Mom who made you feel loved and cared about, all the more reason to be that loving, caring, compassionate and kind nurturer yourself – to yourself. If you have no experience with this, spend time around people who give this and/or get this nurturing, to get a feeling for what it is like.] Once you get into the habit of giving this caring to yourself, your self-esteem will improve and you will find it easier to give others some Caring too.

The 'A' stands for Acceptance. This is a really important concept, and like Caring, you must start with yourself. You need to totally Love and Accept yourself – just how you are right now – complete with all the wonderful things you love about yourself – and including all the little things you don't like about yourself. In order to move forward, you must first acknowledge where you are. You must totally accept everything about you and in you. Accenting the positive is healthy, but accepting the total package is critical. If you can learn to accept yourself and know and love yourself in this way, you can begin to address what you want to change. You may not like some things about yourself, but these faults are part of you, and along with what you like about yourself, this is where you are today. If you can accept and love the whole you, not only are you better able to change what you wish to change, but you can begin to accept and appreciate others for who and how they are – rather than judging them by who or how you think they should be. This goes along with Caring, since unconditional love means unconditional acceptance, and we all thrive on unconditional love. Each of us is unique and special. With acceptance, we begin to really feel how beautiful we all are.

The 'R' stands for Respect. Respect goes hand-in-hand with Acceptance. Respecting each individual's separateness and special-ness can occur more easily when each individual is Accepted just how they are. And acceptance comes more easily when you have respect for each person. Self-Respect, of course, comes first. Yet it is not what you do - or what someone else does that has to earn that respect -- but just because you are you (and just because I am me) -- is reason enough for us to deserve respect. Respect each person's boundaries. Insist that others respect yours. Respect and Accept each special person for Who they are, and not just for what they do. Being respected and accepted -- and feeling it from others -- can go a long way to enabling behavior that earns further respect. Our behavior is often motivated by how much we need to be respected.

We all need a little CAR (Caring/Acceptance/Respect). Many of us do not know how to ask for it, or how to obtain it from others. Often we do not know or remember that this is what we seek in every human interaction. In general, those who get a lot of CAR are likely to give it easily. These people are the most comfortable to be with and their behavior is not demanding or intrusive. The people who are the most difficult to be around, whose attention-demanding behavior may even be annoying, are probably just in need of a little CAR, and they are requesting it in a way that will not get it. Often our behavior can be self-defeating when motivated by needs we do not acknowledge, and when the need is further frustrated by the wrong behavior – the behavior escalates and becomes even more annoying. When I come across someone whose behavior causes others to not wish to be in their company, I have tried to just give them a little CAR. The results are quite amazing.

Try giving a little CAR to yourself, and to everyone you relate with. And try to remember that we all need it, especially those who act in ways that are counter-productive to receiving it.