It has been a long time since I last wrote on this web diary. While the last article was an attempt to honour the brilliant actor that was Robin Williams, this one will be dedicated to the one thing that helped me through my whole life – saved me a couple of times would also be true.
I have spent a big part of my life alone – being unsociable and without friends for many years, distant at the same time from my family. While there were several possible reasons for that (unstable social environment because we moved out to several countries mixed with basic culture and language difference for example) the problem was still there. While I was alone and my ADHD fully roaming – making me the weird guy of the class – all I wanted to do was to make people feel truly happy and laugh. While I used my hyperactivity and lack of control to make people laugh by making myself look stupid, I really spent all my kid and teenage years wondering ” how can I make people happy ” but also ” how the hell can I have a normal conversation with someone, how does any of this work??”. Those years were the strongest of my depression, but they also mark my first steps in the world of thinking and empathy.
“How can I make you laugh? Maybe I can find a subject you like and laugh about it with you? But I don’t know anything. Anyway, what would you like? I can see you have black hair, so maybe you like dark things? ” Yeah thinking does not mean that you are smart, but eventually this style of thinking can open you many many doors! When you spend so many years looking at people and wondering what they like, want, feel, hate and more than all love, you start putting yourself in their shoes, you start living through them. Today, it has become a habit, a talent of my own that I use all the time, every day.
For me, Empathy’s ultimate goal is reaching symbiosis with everybody, a perfect union reached through human analysis, the understanding of one’s needs and behaviors and the use of the appropriate answer to those characteristics in order to satisfy one’s obvious needs in the forst place but also synchronize with everything that they really and GOD I love complicating my sentences!
In short, my empathy’s goal is to become true friends with everybody, which would be quite understandable coming from someone who felt alone all his life!
Empathy is a formidable tool of manipulation, for me its the kind of thing for which you’d say “it must not fall in the wrong hands”. Whilst i am using it with this purpose of making people happy, I’m also afraid of using it the wrong way and I know I have already made many mistakes with it – but also reached many great successes. Through empathy, you can steal someone’s character, use it against him, at the same time you both have the power to grasp one’s deepest troubles and the possibility to make someone plundge into despair using every weakness you see.. But empathy has a really strong protection.
There is one thing, one human talent that one mostly uses when being empathic: the simple of power of understanding. One needs to understand and absord another’s spirit before being able to use it: When you are being empathic to someone, you go through several levels of understanding. You can try to understand one’s motives, then analyze why did he choose to behave in this way -and this can go really far, even to questions like: how are one’s childhood fears interfering with one’s daily behaviours.
The deeper you reach, the more you’ll need to comprehend, absorb and tolerate one’s way of thinking. You need in a way to agree with someone if you really want to put yourself in his shoes. And if you understand and agree with someone, it becomes really hard to go against him and use him. This is empathy’s strongest and main safeguard to me. But this particularity is also a danger.
Two days ago I was in the subway, a hobo entered it and started shouting “ANIMAAAAAL, ANIMAAAL” at some guy without apparent reason. The whole thing was terrifying, when you see this you are usually afraid that the hobo will snap and start getting violent. But the actual thing that made me shiver the most in this instant was that I was able to see that guy’s fall into despair, the deep loneliness that were hidden behind his way of acting as if the guy he was shouting at was also his friend. We all know that when those guys are talking, shouting alone or at people in public, it is an actual and really desperate cry for help. We may be afraid, protect ourselves or even try to intimidate them, but deep in ourselves we know that it is an S.O.S we have in front of us.
Being able to see this despair, this fear and loneliness in someone else is a strong experience, you will learn from it, feel this “my life is better than his, I should be happier” but at the same time, feeling one’s pit of hardships can make you fall in it. Empathy will rise your sensibility to the highest level, and someone’s emotions will start echoing in you as soon as you open up. There is no secret, this is the kind of emotions that – even if they are not yours to begin with – will adapt and fit in your own logic, you have to fight them or to close yourself to them. That’s what I think most people do, they close their heart, try to ignore those shouts because it might be too hard for them, if I did that for me it woud be the end of the game because empathy – again – saved me.
Empathy is my greatest teacher, when I spent my life cowering behind fear, I was still able to use the only thing I had control over: my brain. And through a very simple conviction I was able to overcome most of today’s challenges: ” I have made and will make mistakes all my life, things will happen to me because I won’t have thought enough or won’t be mature enough and it’s the same for those around me. And those around me might have experienced hard things and learned from it. If I can catch their experience, if I can understand what happened to them, how did they live through it and how did or did not make it, then I might become a tiny bit stronger“.
And so I spent my life fighting bit by bit, learning how to understand people, how to behave with them by trying to understand how they were acting between each other by careful listening and watching in those moments when I was conscious of myself. My life is so different today, I might still be a bit asocial, and also this crazy and energetic Arthur that some people like and others don’t, but I’m not sure that I would be there today without all those peoples that I learned from.
Next article might be either really gloomy or funny, be prepared and don’t be too harsh over what I wrote 😉