Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Empathy for the Devil

I am someone who is both blessed and cursed by shedloads of empathy. I feel so much sometimes that it actually hurts. At my deepest core, I am one who is always determined to look beyond a person's actions or words to see what motivates them...To figure out why they might be doing, saying or reacting to something.

In my infinite wisdom, one thing I have learned is that when people do hurt each other, it's usually out of FEAR. Fear of losing someone, fear of being abandoned, fear of being ridiculed – or any other of host of fears. What we have to remember is that FEAR is only False Evidence Appearing Real.

I don't ever deliberately hurt people,…that is not to say I never DO, only that it's not my intention. Each time I do hurt someone or behave badly (which happens far more than I’d like to admit), I vow to learn from it, and also to not make the same mistake again. Naturally, I make other mistakes but usually not the same ones.

Sometimes I over react but we all do, don’t we? Once I calm down – I usually know I’ve blown it (all out of proportion) and am big enough to apologise to people. Sometimes it’s too late. This sort of thing has actually happened a couple of times in the past year, and resulted in me losing friends. But I guess if they’re unable to forgive me, then they can’t have been to true of a friend anyway.

Thankfully my REAL friends, who truly value me, remain to fight the good fight. They forgive me my perceived crimes and they work through them with me - even when, or should I say especially when, they’re really pissed at me! Bless you if that’s you.

Others however choose to leave my life and never look back which saddens me. It’s never easy letting go of friends (or indeed lovers) but we all have to do it at times. Sometimes there is nothing we can do to stop them. And if we really stop to think of it, we shouldn’t have to ‘talk someone into’ staying. I don’t want anyone to be in my life who doesn’t want to be there of their own accord.


My good friend (Wee Fat) Bob once told me “Thea, we must always choose our battles”. What he meant was, I’d behaved like a complete tool (at moments) on a roadtrip to Hollywood, but instead of falling out with me, he chose to focus on my good attributes. He chose to remember that I am more-often-than-not a caring, empathetic individual and not always a moody cow. Bless him. That’s why we’ve remained friends for more than a decade now...


You know, we all have friends who get on our nerves, say or do the wrong thing or flake on us when we had plans – but if we look at ourselves, we realise we can be guilty of such perceived crimes as well. None of us is perfect, we all just do the best we can with skills and tools we’ve been given or acquired. As we grow and learn more - we do better.

That said the more I learn the more I realise the less I really know. We are all quite simply "works in progress". If we remember that, we can be more forgiving of those who we feel slight us.


There is a really long and interesting thread (started by Fluffster) in the Benefactor zone of SYBD (so only the paid members can read it) which discusses friends and how we get so let down by them. The Thread is called SINGLE PANTS but it has nothing to do with underwear. Ha Ha. It actually is about how lonely the Single Life can be and how flakey people can be.


What hurts in life is our EXPECTATIONS that things will last. The loss of love (or friendship) hurts because we expect it to go on forever and when it doesn’t, we’re downright gutted. Wouldn’t it be great if we could do what Dr. Seuss suggests and not “cry because it’s over but smile because it’s happened”?

But that’s not realistic. We do cry. We mourn the loss of what might have been. We feel like a failure when we lose them too. We make it all about us when it might not even be about us. We stair at the closed door so long that we forget to realise another window has been opened and that the universe is always balanced. So if one person leaves your life – that just makes way for someone new to come in. In most cases someone even better.


When I was growing up, my mother used to have a home-based salon. In the salon, on the large gold-rimmed mirror on the wall, was a little bumper sticker that read “Look for the good and praise it”. You know, I don’t think I ever gave my parents credit for the principles they tried to instil in me from an early age. It wasn’t until I was much older that I truly understood what the meaning behind that childhood bumper sticker was and, as if by osmosis, it has become my life’s mantra.

All of us can find reasons to be unhappy or disappointed – particularly if we have just lost the love of our lives. What 'looking for the good and praising it' suggests is that we dig deeper. Hidden in every experience in our lives – whether we find it “good” or “bad” - is something that can benefit us.

Along those lines, my all-time favourite quote is "Every adversity carries within it the seed of equal or greater benefit." (Napoleon Hill)

I feel like I am spending my entire life waiting for my benefits to come… :)

But seriously folks – accentuate the positive. Instead of looking at the friends you’ve lost, or the lover who’s walked, look at all you do have in your life. You’ve got people who love and care for you even on your bad days - when even you don’t like yourself. People can surprise you too. Sometimes support comes from the most unlikely of sources – ex lovers, friends who’d disappeared, and new friends too. We’re all blessed we just forget that sometimes.

To my friends who’ve supported me, you know who you are, I thank you and I love you. To those who left, I thank you too for the lessons learned…

Peace be with all of you…

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