Day 1,161 – My Sympathy Meter is Broke

Dear Sobriety,

I can’t stand complaining. This includes coming from myself. That’s why I’m glad I live alone. I tend to complain less when it’s just me and the cats, because all they’ll do is silently judge me with that “you’re the only one who can make a change” look followed by, “oh yeah, and we’re hungry too” stare.

Is my sympathy meter broke? I can emphasize with people all day long. I enjoy letting others know that I understand where they are coming from and that they’re not alone.

Maybe I need to take a step back and start with the basics. Dictionary.com, thank you very much.

Sympathy: feelings of pity or sorrow for someone else’s misfortune.

Empathy: the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.

See? The sympathy’s definition is only about misfortune; whereas, empathy can be about any feeling. Blech. I’m skeeved out just reading it. It sucks all the happy and sparkles out of the air just mentioning it. Sure, misfortune sucks, but if you’re going to sit on your gump all day long and complain about it, how much progress have you made on getting yourself out of said misfortune? I would assume a big ol’ zero. And that, my friend, is your own fault. I think that’s where I turn off.

Am I just a b!tch? I don’t think so. I think I just don’t like listening to people complain without taking any action. ORRRRR… to go in a different direction, listening to people complain because they’re left with only one choice and that choice isn’t their number one.

Maybe the thing is that I just need to b!tch. And for that, I want to thank you for stopping by to take a minute to listen. When I hear people talk about the short end of the stick or some other amazing and uncreative euphemism, all I want to do is scream at them and tell them to lube up said stick before they so unjoyously (real word) shove it up their own a$$ before the largest audience they can muster.

This is where I need to “detach with love” and my lovely Al-Anon parents have mentioned to me. They’ve used this on me too – Drunk Monica was BIG into the pity parties. And I’m still guilty of them from time-to-time. We all have our own setbacks. But I don’t sit and wallow in my own filth (literally and figuratively) the way I used to. Because it doesn’t do me any good. I’ve finally learned that negative attention is not the same as positive attention. Sure, it pays off with an audience the short run, but that’s about it. As time goes on, you’ll find that your audience has dwindled until you’re only surrounded by likeminded people. Misery loves company.

I’m always happy to share tidbits with people having problems or share some of my experience. In fact, I absolutely love that. If my lessons learn can help someone else avoid the pain had during, I’m all for it. That’s why I read so many books on how to unf*ck yourself. People are writing them for a reason.

I feel like I’m hopping all over the place with this, but I think what I need to do is to go back to the “detach with love”. I offer advice when asked; said advice is not taken; situations have not changed and then I feel like I’m responsible. I think that’s where my frustration comes from. I know I don’t have all the answers and there’s no way I could save all the Monica’s in the world (that is daunting to just think about), but I get emotionally involved when I share something that has really helped me and the advice falls on deaf ears.

Maybe I have a double standard? I don’t know. This is something for me to think about and come back to. I’ve just had it swimming around in ye olde noggin tonight and needed to word vomit it out so I can sleep better.

As I’m google image searching for sympathy v empathy, I’m learning that compassion is one step further than empathy. Hmmm… interesting.

I think I would be a terrible parent because I’m of the mind that, “you’ve made your bed, now lie in it” with the bonus of, “or figure out how to get a new bed”. Maybe I’m just too independent? I don’t like accepting help from others (which is not necessarily a good thing). It does hurt my pride, but there are times when we have to suck it up, buttercup, because you really do need the help.

I don’t know. Word vomit completed. Thanks for going on this absolutely insane, randomized journey with me.

PS, do not google “why is it hard for me to be sympathetic”. You will be pinged as a psychopath.