I remember growing up and one of the compliments I heard often is that I am conscientious of other people’s feelings. It’s something I have always prided myself on being. I always seek to understand people, their view points and make an attempt at empathy. Along with the depression I have experienced over the past few years and having displayed so much of it here on my blog and the other blogs I have kept, another thing I heard a lot is that I am an “empath” – the idea that I feel what others feel.
The problem with all of this is that I do have that tendency. I have noticed at times I have violated my own principles as a result of feeling what another person feels. I don’t often discuss politics on my blog – although I have had blogs where I have done that – because I find that politics tend to bring out the most emotional arguments ever. But I have to admit that there are things worth discussing, but there is something about a time and place for certain discussions.
Today, as I wake up, I have spent the better part of the past few days paying attention to the things people discuss on Twitter, Facebook and other social media. Primarily, people are focusing on the shooting that occurred in LV late Sunday night. And not to minimize this tragedy, but it seems to be a culmination of so many different things going on in the world lately. There are wars, natural disasters, shootings, acid-attacks, sexual assaults, and on and on. It’s like there is a constant barrage of horrible news and people’s opinions seem to fuel the fires of animosity online. I won’t lie, even I have been a party to some of the b.s. that gets discussed online.
But what I have noticed is that there never seems to be a real sorrow for those hurt by such things. There only seems to be an agenda from one side or another and people seem to forget those left in the aftermath. And there doesn’t seem to be an understanding of what should be done for those dealing with any of these things in a direct manner. There seems to be this detachment from the victims and a focus on either punishing someone or changing current policies – it’s not that I think any of this should not be done, because I do, but don’t we truly need to put our efforts on the hurt and damaged people first?
Tragedies are so focused on putting our hurt into hatred and wanting to lash out at something or someone. Not that this isn’t understandable, because we all hate seeing what these things do to people, but our focus gets taken off of those that need our attention. Although there are feelings of helplessness, no one wants to be handled with kid gloves, and some don’t want to be handled at all; but there is a need. A true need.
I don’t have the answers, and I would be lying if I said that the events of the past week didn’t impact my own psychological well-being, because I have seen evil first hand. Certainly not at the level that occurred in Las Vegas, but having spent several years as a police officer (long ago in my past), I have seen the impact evil has on society. And there are always victims that need attention.
I remember, in my youth, the pushing of an idea of loving one another, being kind and thoughtful, helping where you see a need. I feel like many in our society have forgotten to do that. And I offer a couple of examples of seeing just that:
Example #1 – A few days ago, one of my cars brokedown in an exit from a parking lot to a main roadway. It completely died. Some people were honking and I got out of my car and walked down the line of cars to explain to people that I had broken down, but I had someone on the way to help. Cars went around me and one car, driven by a young man that I guessed about 22 or 24 years old, drove past me. With him, was a young “lady” as a passenger who was roughly the same age, held her head out of the window and said to me, while driving by, “You need to push your car out of the way”. Of course, me being much older and wiser, shot back, “Thanks for the advice, fuckin’ Einstein!” (The real problem, is that I felt guilty for saying it…but that’s an ENTIRELY different post, altogether). But this interaction gave me pause and I thought to myself, “Sheesh…it’d sure be nice if someone offered to help me push the car out of the way…” Here, it seems like a focus on the self, prevented someone from offering any kind of assistance and exhibited a lack of compassion.
Example #2: Yesterday, I spoke to someone that had a co-worker that was at the concert in Las Vegas with her dad and sister. Apparently, someone standing right next to this woman had been shot. She had expressed to the supervisor at this place she worked that she didn’t want anyone making a big something of her making it back to work a live. This person I was talking to was pissed off because another girl she worked with wanted to throw a “Welcome back alive party”. (I mean, really, what the fuck is wrong with people??? Do some people have no concept of survivor’s guilt???). The person I was talking to said she didn’t really know how to treat the girl returning. In this situation, the inability to know what to do is honest, but the other girl wanting to through a party is FAR worse and is totally callous in the response.
And now, as I come to a close on this post – a closure that many people probably might never feel – I find myself wondering what it is I’m really trying to express. What I know – or rather, what I observe – is that people in society have seem to forgotten what it’s like to put themselves in other people’s shoes. There seems to be this idea that because I see something one way that everyone else around me should see it the same way.
We need more empathy.