Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Empathy and Me

When you're sad, I'm sad. I can't help it. It's just in my nature to empathize whole heartedly. Most people have an empathy button that is only pushed in certain situations. My empathy "button" extends from the top of my head to the tips of my toes... and is half engaged at all times.

My friends mean the world to me and when one of them is having a rough time I immediately put on the "Mama Bear" hat and try to make things better. I don't know if my attempts actually help but I like to think that them knowing that I'm always on their side, does.

Over the years I've collected an amazing bunch of people. They have helped me see the world, they have taught me how to live and how to love. I talk a big game about choosing the right people to surround myself with and to be honest I think I've done a great job at cutting off the dead weight without hesitation.

I know I'm not perfect. I'm far from it, I'll be the first to admit. But because of the quality of people in my life, I believe that I'm able to be a better person than I would be- if I were to be without them. I'm constantly motivated to live a life that I am proud of through my words and more importantly my actions.

One of my greatest strengths is honesty. It comes naturally to me (now) and when I find myself being dishonest even in the slightest capacity- my body hurts. It makes me physically ill to flat out lie. My friends have taught me how to take my brute honesty and polish it into constructive criticism that actually yields appreciated advice and positive results.

Empathizing with a friend turns me into a promise making machine. I want them to feel better, to be happy again. So, I find myself making promises to them that will eventually help them find their own way back to happiness. When I make a promise to a friend, it is set in stone. All other things in my life get put on pause so I can focus all my attention and energy into making that promise a reality. It's a pretty dramatic thing to do but when I say that I'm going to do something you can guarantee that it will be done and with a quickness. I respect my people enough to give and do for them whatever they need.

I can't really think of a time when I would just say that I'm going to do something for the sake of saying it. I can't stand the idea of letting anyone down, even in the most minuscule way. I know a few people who say shit and never follow through and it irritates me so much because I'd rather have you be honest with your intentions so I don't have to depend on you. Attempting to make me feel better by saying something in the moment yet not actually doing anything about it is worse than not caring in the first place.

Over the weekend a friend of mine was involved in a pretty serious motorcycle accident. He broke his neck and injured his collar bone. Miraculously, he is alive and in good spirits. The overwhelming news broke my heart into a thousand pieces. He wrecked on Husband's bike. The bike took a massive hit on the left side with a giant dent to the gas tank, the bike high sided and the entire right side is scratched to shit. Because I'm so empathetic and I always overanalyze, my mind couldn't help but think "What if it was Husband?" I can't even go there without giant tears rolling down my face... so I won't.

My mind raced all night just thinking of all the tragic "what if" scenarios that could have happened and how evident it is that we as humans are extremely resilient yet so fragile at the same time. I was in a minor state of panic. The guy suffers from a Jefferson fracture for crying out loud. And he's alive! How lucky is he??? He can't ignore the fact that he's clearly meant to go on and do something amazing with the rest of his life. I'm excited to see how this experience changes his life and who he becomes.

His accident only reaffirms how important it is for me, and all of us really, to be better friends, better people- today and all the days left in our lives. I'm not one to push things off until tomorrow, because I know all too well that tomorrow might never come. This guy is in such high spirits and it is very refreshing to see, especially from someone so young. He understands how lucky he is to be alive and I'm not surprised at how his experience has influenced me to be a better person and to adjust my thinking a little to practice living a better life, to become a better friend.

I could go on for pages about this but it's time for me to sign off. He's stuck in a creepy Italian hospital about an hour away from here, bored out of his mind. So, I've gotta whip up some food (the food they've been feeding him is garbage) and go hang out with him for the day. Before I go, I want to tell you that whether you know me personally or not, I have love for you. I think you're an amazing human being and you have people in your life that love you and would be devastated if you were plucked from this Earth today. People you might not think of, really do care for you, myself included. I encourage you to do that thing that you've been putting off real soon, if not TODAY! Be honest, be kind, and try to live a life that you're proud of.

Until next time, much love.
CrisM

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