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You Can’t Be a Designated Hitter When It Comes to Caring

·366 words·2 mins

Meet me in the middle, says the unjust man.

You take a step toward him. He takes a step back.

Meet me in the middle, says the unjust man.

@Julius Goat on Twitter


Once upon a time, I had a truly magical outlook regarding emotions. I thought that if I only cared enough about situations that it would affect the other person. Move them somehow. Even if they were selfish, cold, only concerned with their own self and their needs, if I cared enough, I could soften another person’s heart.

And because of this, if I were in a relationship and the other person seemed to become cold or distant, then it meant that it was my fault somehow. That I wasn’t caring enough. Because all I had to do in order to have a loving relationship was to care enough about the other person.

I really thought I could care enough for everyone in the relationship.

But the truth is that feelings don’t work that way. You can’t force other people to care about anything simply by caring enough. You can’t force other people to care about you by caring about them.

I had to realize that you can’t be a designated hitter when it comes to caring. What’s a designated hitter? In baseball, it’s someone who doesn’t play a field position and instead takes the place of the pitcher when it comes to batting order. The position originated because of the fact that pitcher is a different position than the others — with pitchers being selected solely for their ability to pitch and not for their hitting ability.

And it was true in my own life, back when I was a baby jock. I pitched softball in junior high. True to form, I was quite good at pitching but terrible when it came to my turn at bat.

What works in sports doesn’t apply to relationships. You can’t go to bat for other people when it comes to emotions and just expect it to work.

I had to learn the hard way that everyone has to care. And the only thing that comes from lopsided caring is manipulation, wasted time, and heartache.


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