Caring for others is not a simple possibility or a duty. It’s rather a true and real necessity.
A human being in fact lives and flourishes in relation to other and if the relationship with others is not gratifying, it dies. As much as the affirmation can seem paradoxical, it is true that we nourish ourselves exclusively on alterity, in body as much as spirit. That is why it suits as to have others as available for us. But others can be available for us. But others can be available for us only if we are well. It comes that the condition of our well-being is the well being of others. But because others are well, it must be precisely from us that they are treated.
In order to understand this better, we must focus on the order of objectives. Our well-being cannot be the first objective, in the relation to others. We will not flee otherwise to a miserable narcissism and a form of relationship cannibalism. The first objective must always be the well-being of others. Our well-being (caring for ourselves) will follow after- inevitably. But, precisely must not be the desire of the first objective. Just like when for example you cycle, you never look at a map; rather you look at the road ahead so as to not end up cycling into a lampost, tree or ditch. The route will not go the right way, only because one pays attention to the road and not the route.
Now our relations with others are at times symmetrical at times asymmetrical. But it is not ever asymmetrical without a certain symmetry and viceversa. So our relationship with care. At times we are only cared for, at times we are only carers, when there is a real and proper symmetry and still care is always reciprocated. Without reciprocation no-one can be truly cared for, also in an asymmetrical relation. Certainly you also care for simple objects but in such case care is rather a form of self-care. Objects are not things that we have and that we make in some way a part of us. Subjects are not things that we have and that we have, they are something else in a radical sense. They are another principle of life, for us always unavoidable.