Wednesday, May 26, 2010

To Err Is Human; To Forgive Is Divine. Or For Suckers?

I have come to the realization over the last few months that I am disproportionately empathetic when compared with the average bear. I've always known that I can relate well to others and see different points of view, but I didn't realize that the extent to which I do it is so unique until recently. A discussion with a student, actually, is what made me think about it. She revealed some very personal information about a terrible experience in her life, and I shared a similar story. Suffice to say, a wrong was done to me and she wanted to know how I'd dealt with it. I told her that though I was hurt and should've been upset, I'd ended up feeling really bad for the other person involved and couldn't bear the thought of what any sort of recourse would do to them. She looked at me like I was crazy, and it made me start thinking about other life experiences.
I get pissed at a situation, I react, and then I'm done with it. If it's a serious enough situation, then I back out of the relationship altogether so I don't have to deal with a reoccurrence. I don't want to hang on to a lot of anger and bear the brunt of all that negative energy. But, I have had it brought to my attention that a lack of anger can actually cause problems, too.
When I was laid off from work this spring, I told my employer, "Please don't feel bad about this. I know you do, but I get that it's just one of those things." When a co-worker told a large number of people something that was supposed to be kept just between us and another person got pissed off at his gabbiness, I defended him, saying it was my fault for having revealed something secretive in the first place. A miscommunication with a friend resulted in a big ta-doo not long ago. I ended up in tears, feeling awful. I ended up apologizing for that. Not just the argument, but the fact I'd been upset. I'm the idiot that lends someone money that already owes me so they can pay somebody else back. A friend that once betrayed me terribly suffered a similar experience not too long ago, and I supplied the shoulder they needed to recover. Actually, that one's happened several times in recent memory. There never seems to be any sense of irony recognized in such situations, either. At what point do you move from being someone that's a good friend to being someone that's a glutton for punishment?
I'd always believed that it's best, if at all possible, to "forgive and forget" in order to move on. I have to wonder, though, if instead of being a forgiving and kind-hearted person, I'm not really just sort of a doormat.

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