Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Diminishing Empathy

Having empathy for others has always been an issue with me for a bunch of different reasons. When I started going down this train of self-analyzing, it was because I found myself becoming numb to the news of what is essentially a constant state of fear and hyper panic by immigrants. For the last few months, all you read in the news is this person is being deported, that person is being deported, this family is being torn apart, that family is being torn apart. I'm at a point of major disconnect and I don't like it. I wasn't like that before either. It's cliche to write this, but earlier in life, I was more optimistic about life, my immigration status, and what the future could hold.

That optimism and hope were fueled by the people I was surrounding myself at the time. It kept me going through some hard times despite being an immature knucklehead who didn't deserve the kind of help and support I was getting. Of course, as I got older and I lived through shit storm after shit storm, I found maturity in spades and began being more selective about where and who I invested my time in. Nowadays though, I can't help but notice how much more isolated I've become from others and the world in general.

The obvious and easiest response to that is that I've been caught up with the multiple jobs that I hold down and other responsibilities. At the end of an average week, all I wanna do is catch up on domestic matters at home, watch some guilt-free television, and not have to worry about everything else that's going on till I have to go back to the grind the following Monday. Sometimes I stop and think if any of the work important at all in the long run of things or am I just going through the motions of life as a working adult? By the time the end of the week rolls around, I'm too exhausted to give a rats ass about anyone else's problems, truth be told.

That's the easy answer. The real answer is a lot more convoluted and harder to articulate because it's coming from so many different angles. At the end of the day though, despite the kaleidoscope of excuses I muster, I'm making an active choice to disengage from feeling empathy for others who aren't in my immediate circles and brushing off everything else in the world. I don't like that. It's turning me into a sour and bitter person that no one wants to be around in any capacity. Hence why I've isolated myself as of late.

At the same time though, I realized that in my current age and stage in life, I'm naturally being ghosted by life moving forward. So many of the people I use to hang out with in years past are getting married, having kids, and settling down in general. Yeah, I'm isolating myself but at the same time, the number of folks I can reach out to for a spontaneous activity is dwindling faster than I realized and when I did, it bummed me out. Nowadays, everything has to be scheduled in and coordinated because our time isn't our own anymore. From responsibilities are our jobs to responsibilities with their partners and families, every second of time is being pulled in multiple directions.

It's a bit surreal to come to this conclusion as I'm writing all this down, but I severely underestimated how much influence others have and have had in the development of my mental, emotional, and societal growth. Left to my own devices, I've turned into a grumpy man who waves his fist at clouds. As I start to think back to all the times when friends have helped me attain a grasp on ideas and concepts by talking to them and listening to their point of views, I realize that my initial issue with my empathy diminishing is directly tied to who I surround myself with.

This is going to take some finagling and time for me to process, but as always, mentally vomiting my thoughts into words always helps facilitate my movement forward. I went into this thinking one thing and I came out the other end realizing something else. I'll have to dig deep for this one, but I'm lucky to be able to reach out to others if need be.