Trial, Tribulation, Empathy.

Background: Without sounding egocentric or portraying any sense of ignorance, I have always considered “people” to be among my strengths. This is why I feel Chad Fowler’s piece really resonated with me. I will not claim that I do not judge, but I actively avoid doing so. I will not claim that my intuitions are always accurate, but I spend considerable time making sense of the things said and actions taken by those around me. It is rare that I take things personally and difficult for me to witness another person’s discomfort or dissatisfaction. I do not like awkward humor as it makes me feel awkward. I do not care to overindulge in the negativity of others as it takes a toll on me over time. Nevertheless, I am an easy person to talk to and a good person to turn to when dealing with personal problems. I am not good at telling people what they what to hear because I do not take sides and am not too shy to share my incite if asked to do so. At the same time, I feel no need to share my opinion. What I feel and how I approach people is often exhausting. This is why I identify myself as an introvert. I am perfectly capable of being social and most often am. If I am antisocial it is because I do not possess the energy at that time to be actively present in conversation. There is a disconnect I feel with other people when managing my own life’s problems so I rarely vent and never care for the sympathy of others. It is likely stubbornness that inhibits my trusting people to capably empathize with me so I tend to tackle personal matters entirely on my own.

Premise: My story of tribulation is nothing different from what many of you and so many others before me have experienced. It is simple; it was a breakup. It is how I responded that may differ from most of you. In short, I maintained a very unhealthy relationship for three long years after high school and in college. When it finally ended, I did nothing crazy in relation to her, but I lost interest in school, opted out of working, cut relationships with friends and family, fell off the map completely, and went nowhere for help. This was two years ago.

Fallout: I was evicted from my apartment, everything I owned taken with it, flunked out of school (yes CU), unable to buy a meal, and depressed beyond belief which was not something I was familiar with. I failed to live up to my family’s expectations as well as my own. Hell I even lost my gym membership which was pretty sad. I have experienced a great deal in my life growing up with a single mother -mental disability, financial stress (put lightly), violence and chaos always having some presence, but this felt unbearable. It was only at this point that I discovered not all of life’s problems may be solved alone.

who-is-god_724_482_80Empathizer’s rescue: Perhaps it was my knowledge of his own history or just me feeling that I had little more to lose, but for the first time in years I was venting. All of the accumulated resentment, hurt, anger, disappointment, insecurities, and life questions I had ever had were spewing out over the course of a few days and to one person. This person was my father. Without judgement, disdain, or disapproval my father listened. Without ever saying much he said a lot. I felt I was speaking to someone who truly understood my situation and had sensible opinion, pertinent advice to share. He reminded me of who I was, guided me back to reason, and left me with a choice: keep digging or move forward.

Takeaway: I recognize that I have said more here than I needed to, but as it pertains to empathy, this is the clearest moment I can think of in my adult life where someone else played a crucial role in my success. Be it business, school, personal relationships, or friendships I have come to learn the value of empathy. Empathy salvaged my life.

 

 

 

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5 thoughts on “Trial, Tribulation, Empathy.

  1. “Sometimes, you have to get knocked down lower than you have ever been to stand back up taller than you ever were.” Thank you very much for sharing this with us, I found your post extremely inspirational. I just went through a pretty tough breakup myself and found myself feeling a lot of the same feelings you have. Your post gives me hope for a brighter future, thank you for being so open with the class.

    – Andrew Doan

  2. This was a very moving post! Congratulations on making it as far as you have and for staying strong and being persistent. I’m glad to hear that you found an outlet in your father. My parents got to where they were from pretty much nothing, which gives me inspiration to keep going to school and bettering myself so that I can live up to what they’ve accomplished. But at the same time, they understand how stressful the college situation can be for millennials and are incredibly supportive.

  3. Congratulations on getting through the hard times and continue to work toward a better future. I applaud you for having the courage and the will to change. Like Heidi Johnson said, “always concentrate on how far you’ve come, rather than how far you have left to go.” I would also like to applaud your father for being so non-judgmental and understanding when you expressed your intense emotions to him. It’s rather difficult for some parents because of their sense of authority and the age gap.

  4. Hey,
    I get it. The breakup and life falling to ruing, I mean. It happened to me too (right when I started at CU). I didn’t like the empty feeling inside so I filled it with substances and poor choices. I had to withdraw and quit school, much to my disdain and parental disapproval. Its good that you were able to find someone to talk to. Your dad especially (mine isn’t the easiest to have a conversation with).
    -Matt

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