Caring vs. Caretaking

Kindness and caring is giving to another for the joy of it as a free gift. Caretaking, on the other hand, is giving yourself up or giving to get love. The actions of both care and caretaking may look the same. The intention behind each action creates a different energy. Here are a few ways to understand and identify the difference.

Caretaking Intentions

  • Constantly doing things for others with a belief that is what they want and expect.
  • Abandoning oneself to give to others. Ignoring one’s own feelings and giving to others as a way to avoid responsibility to oneself.
  • Caretaking is used as a form of control to try to get others to like and value the giver.

Caring Intentions

  • Before giving to others check in and ask oneself if this is really something they want to do.
  • Giving for the joy of it with no expectations about how the other person “should” respond.
  • Being able to define one’s own self- worth and giving kindness without needing attention and approval from others.

The difference between caregiving and caretaking is the motivation behind it. On the surface the nurturing looks the same. Ultimately, we must learn to love ourselves, take care of our ourselves and be responsible for ourselves. When we  understand we are worthy of love just the way we are, we are free to show compassion and kindness with no strings attached.

“The right mix of caring and not caring - I suppose that’s what love is.”  James Hilton