Friday, May 26, 2006

Empathy

I can think of innumerable instances when I've felt 'Why does this happen to me?' While growing up, dating and bunch of other stuff.

I grew up in an apartment where my parents and me slept in the same room. My dad had a serious drinking problem. (He's cut down big time now) Not alcoholism. But bordering on it. And there would be days when I'd see mom get beat and cussed at for no fault of hers. So I'd go back to school on some mornings after a rough night at home thinking 'No one goes through what I go through.' (Don't get me wrong. I'm not here to pour my griefs onto you. I don't want pity.)

When I'd look around, I'd see these "happy" families going out for dinner on a Saturday night and feel sad for myself. As time passed, I scratched the surface to find everyone has their own problems. Someone had a mom who would watch crappy TV soaps all day and night and forget she had a child to take care of. Someone else didn't have a dad. And another kid whose parents were fighting over who he should live with.

Through these little experiences I realised that all of us have our own shit to deal with. The guy who cleans the cars, the lady who cooks the food, the boss at the office, the person you love and hate even... all of them have it. And it makes life a lot easier when you reach out to people, when you're kind, when you put yourself in the other person's shoes and think for that one brief moment before your about to judge someone. What would I have done if I had been the other person's place? People don't want pity or that I'm-OK-but-I-feel-sorry-for-you attitude. No. All it takes is a little understanding.

(BTW, my parents recently completed 31 years together and I love them both equally. My dad is a really great guy and my mom, words would be a waste to even try and describe what she means to me.)

8 comments:

Noojes said...

Im speechless for the simple reason that I am actually thinking about what you just said...

Hmm maybe i'll be back later with something to say

Noojes

Pooja Vijay said...

u know ... everyone thought my family was one of those "perfect ones" , two pretty intelligent kids, a well to do husband...and typical house wife!
well... wish it were like that!

namrata said...

Truly love the post..reminds me of how necessary it is in life to be genuine, understanding and be able to give empathy to people who need it the most. A psychologist called Roger's based his Therapy on these conditions of unconditional positive regard(understanding), empathy and genuiness. He believed that all it takes for a person to help another person are these three qualities..it's so little but what a huge difference it makes in our approach na?...

ramblingmuse said...

Growing up I think every child lives in their own world, whether it's a positive or negative view. Now as an adult I realize that everyone's perceptions and views are so complicated and personal that all we can really do in the end is just love and accept others as best we can, in spite of our own baggage.

There's a renewed sense of appreciation we gain as an adult, and the real challenge is softening our hearts as we age instead of hardening it.

It's a milestone for your parents to be together so long. Congrats to them both. :-)

Alexys Fairfield said...

I echo RM's elegant prose.

Also, battle scars kill us or make us stronger. You sound like you are stalwart and unfolding gently and divinely.

Ajeya said...

noojes... it's OK not to say anything sometimes :)

pooja... "perfect ones"... did they ever make them?

namrata... glad you liked it. absolutely. and when you look at helping others, you help yourself without even wanting to.

RM... yeah, each of us have a unique way in which we see the world and accepting and appreciating that is liberating. And I'm saying a BIG 'Thank you' for my parents :-D

Alexys... How do you do it? Staying in touch with your spiritual self all the time?!? You're amazing, really.

As for the stalwart bit, I'd be kidding myself if I thought of myself as one. But yes, I am finding my way, slowly but surely.

akshay said...

i think about this everyday. when my issues are dwarfed by the kid who begs for food. when i crib about being screamed at by my parents to people who dont have parents.

"its just another day for you and me in paradise"

Ajeya said...

akshay... yeah, it is another day for you and me, in paradise. Welcome to the Highway to Nowhere!