Recently, I was present for a conversation whereby one was going through change that had been outside of their control while the other had made life decisions toward personal growth and individual happiness.
Both were struggling within their change, but one was offered far more empathy than the other. Can you guess which one?
If you guessed the person who did not choose the change, you would be correct.
What is it that the world tends to offer more empathy toward those who are experiencing uninvited change versus someone who is bold and brave enough to have the courage to invite change?
Wouldn’t we do well to consider the individual suffering rather than the circumstances? Or is empathy only reserved for those who are seemingly greater victims of circumstance?
A struggle is a struggle. Need is need. We do not need to prove to ourselves or others that we are worthy of understanding, compassion, empathy.
As a therapist, I am witness to a wide range of guilt stemming from this very idea of who is deserving and who is not.
There are some who have been victimized in the most atrocious and unfathomable manner and they feel guilty believing they have caused their own victimization. Then there are those who are deeply affected by the experiences they’ve had, but feel guilty that their personal experience was not as bad as another.
Again, a need is a need. A struggle is a struggle. Pain is pain.
The desire for compassion, empathy and understanding are not measured by situation, circumstance or experience; rather it is measured by human need.