Empathy & Strength
(written as a series of 'note to self' messages)
I was thinking about empathy today. I have been trying to do my best to be empathetic and kind to people in the last few months, and despite that, I get frustrated often, like I did again this morning with a security guard, or with my mother last evening over something silly.
And maybe its because I realise that being empathetic to others does not conform their empathy towards me. For some, its how they are and I dont worry about such people. I filter them out. But the kind of people who frustrate me are the ones who know that I am an empathetic person and who try to take advantage of me for being who I am.
There have been quite a few who have tried to use me as a doormat.
So, just a thought here — maybe all the dots are not connecting with this empathy equation.
You need a counterbalance to prevent yourself from becoming a doormat frequently.
And, I think, that counterbalance is not mental or emotional strength. It has to be physical strength.
One needs to be physically very strong, in order to be at the top of the empathy game. That’s when your kindness is balanced by the a tacit threat where someone will think twice about taking you for a ride.
Of course mental strength is important, and generally we all are mentally more stronger than we physically are.
But think about it, physical strength sends out a direct threat signal. When it is mixed with emotional kindness, anyone will think really hard about taking you for a ride.
Maybe I want to become the guy about whom someone might say — “This dude is the kindest guy I’ve met, but if you try to use him, he can break your jaw”.
And that should be my motivation to show up to the gym every time. Because I want to be the kindest person ever.