Why Don’t We Empathize With Others And Ourselves?

Posted: November 2, 2018

Recovery is a process of self-discovery. More often than once, I have heard people mention that certain incidents changed their lives.

Change in terms of giving them fresh perspectives, altering their patterns and rescheduling their brain wires. Something like a factory reset on your systems.

Unfortunately or fortunately, our brains are not precisely programmed for a complete cleanup. We tend to go back and ponder. Specifically, for people who tend to contemplate much before acting, have this good fortune. Pun intended. Take it from someone who has the happy chance of being on the other end of impulse; it is certainly not a wildly intoxicating place to be.




My question to you is; are all these people ultimately risk averse? Stagnant, static and perpetually boring?

So let me initiate the argument by asking you, do you think people, in general, are one-dimensional? Does indecision or stagnancy in certain facets of life mean that the individual doesn’t have another side to his/her personality that could easily redirect your opinion? In our fast-paced lives today, we meet, talk, exchange and discard so many people on a regular basis. I do. And so do you. Some you dismiss as uninteresting, some as uneventful, some as naive, some as foolishly idealistic, and the list goes on. Judging, stacking and subsequent labelling is not exactly a crime.

But how many of us, step back and give our opinions a second chance? Call me a naive idealist, but I happen to be a big fan of second chances. I have got some and I have messed up so many. But the important point is, those people at those moments have had the courage to look beyond their constraints.

The crucial part is probably realizing that everyone is on their own timetable. I might not be at a crossroads of an investment decision right now, that doesn’t make me risk-averse. I might be a believer of government bonds and not the equity market. Similarly, just because I take time moving any relationship to the next stage, doesn’t make me cold meat. Maybe I believe in building trust before going full throttle on the accelerator. These are choices really and not always individual nature.

More often than not, we tend to place judgement on people within the first 5 minutes. With age or rather with experiences, I have learnt that a little bit of flexibility doesn’t hurt. Sad truth is, you never really know someone unless you’ve had either a late night conversation, an inebriated episode, or you’ve been privy to some amount of pillow talk. So the best advice I have given myself, in the past year is, cut yourself some slack, and keep an open mind. Honestly speaking, as you grow (hopefully gracefully) you tend to realize there is a lot to learn. Specifically about people. Everyone deals with some amount of turmoil at some point in their lives. Poise is to deal with it at your own pace and not become a raving juggernaut that destructs on it’s way to oblivion. Everyone deserves a little bit of empathy once in a while.

When something happens that makes you stop, breathe and re-evaluate, use that time to discover yourself. Every one of us is a complex web of emotions. Some like remaining bottled up, but when they unravel, that is more often than not, quite painful as a process. Being on your own on this path of discovery is loosely recovery. There is often beauty in being on your own. Relationships don’t have to be based on co-dependency. There are high chances that, if you try and explain this concept, you would be scoffed at. However, individuals who deal with changes on their own are mostly the strongest you would come across. Be social by all means. But not a nervous wreck of social niceties.

When I was a child I was fascinated with the likes of Ayn Rand. Her books spoke so much of truth to me that individuality came as a natural consequence to my mental framework. Humility has taught me that everyone probably hasn’t had that choice. You can call me fortunate to have had these opportunities or you might say that awareness about self is something that our society truly lacks. Speaking for my gender, we often take pride in being an ideal daughter, girlfriend, wife, mother at different stages in our lives. How many of us follow the paths that give meaning to our selves? It might be that living each of these roles to perfection gives you fulfilment, but to a lot of us, probably a concept of a he/them is not all-encompassing. That has to be fair too, right?

So, I tell myself routinely, recover yourself, discover yourself, be comfortable in your skin. Self is not a big dark hole on the ground where you need to be buried. And of course, to the other impulses I say, a little bit of empathy goes a long way.

Earlier Published here.

Image Source – Pexels

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Manojita loves to write alongside her regular 9-5. Flair for language, poetry, art etc

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