The only living person who probably cares about you unconditionally, if you’re lucky, is your mother. Even if you cave in someone’s skull with a claw hammer at the Dairy Queen in sight of several witnesses and a security camera, she’ll tell the local news station that you were always a good boy and that you didn’t do anything wrong.
Other people may or may not care about you, but the relationship is inherently conditional. You will have had to build some credibility with those people before expecting them to care about whether you live, die, or suffer.
This tends to be especially different for men to understand in comparison to how the broader society tends to treat women. A pretty girl in need will rarely be in need for long, but a man in need will rarely inspire much pity.
A lot of this derives from the broadly shared utilitarian values which have come to dominate the minds of most Westerners. They think about use-value rather than the value of the soul. Contrary to the egalitarian muddling about the ‘intrinsic value of life,’ until recently, the righteous were quite willing and capable to execute criminals in the service of justice without the plodding, maudlin procedures of death row, and the universally failed attempts to discover ‘humane’ methods of execution. Souls aren’t equal. Sinners and saints don’t go to the same place.
God does care about you — but he will boil you in shit for eternity if you’re bad. This tends to be lost somewhere in modern liturgical dissembling.
Because the indifference of the world is so painful to experience, secular teachers attempt to provide consolation by telling children that they’re ‘special’ and have inherent value. This belief as painkiller may provide the person with the courage that he needs to face the indifferent world. But more often, this false pride leads to a sense of being wounded by the inevitable indifference of the others. People want to believe that they are valued just for existing, like they were as infants (if they were so lucky), sucking thick milk from a warm nipple, teething all along like an overgrown hairless gerbil.
Adult men(and older women) aren’t so lucky. Others value us based on our contributions to them, to institutions, and to the commonweal. The rule is give-and-take. This can be subverted by the pretend-to-give-and-then-really-take, or the take-take-take. But not for long, as subversion either chokes the host society or forces a purge.
If you want more from the world, you must be generous, even when you have nothing to give.