Empathy and compassion: Get some.

After a week’s recovery from a Facebook debate I stupidly and accidentally started, I’m reflecting on a simple truth about people that really slapped me in the face:



Some people have empathy and compassion for others. Some people don’t.

What I posted last week: An article about a study concluding that long-term poverty results in behavior very similar to long-term sleep deprivation. In other words, those stuck in poverty tend to make poor decisions, and basically lose ability to function effectively. My point was that I’ve seen this effect in action in families I’ve worked with. In fact, I’ve lived this phenomenon myself during a particularly difficult period of my adult life. I came out of my situation with an understanding of just how difficult it is to survive poverty, and with intense compassion toward those who live it for an entire lifetime. Because that time of my life was a nastily unfortunate aberration, our family was able to come through it and get back on our feet. We had education and a solid, healthy upbringing to help us pull our selves out. But many, many people living in poverty do not have those underlying advantages. As a civilized society, as fellow human beings, we have the responsibility to do everything we can to assist these people, to bring them along with us.

My antagonist’s argument: She’d been through hard times before. She turned her life around. What’s wrong with all those lazy scammers that they can’t do the same? They should just “pull themselves up by their own bootstraps” and take some personal responsibility rather than expecting help from taxpayers. There was much more in this vein, but I might vomit on my keyboard if I repeat any more of it.

Honestly, I think the inability to imagine what it’s like to “walk in another’s shoes” is the source of most of the world’s misery.

And FYI, I now put on blinders when I open Facebook. I’m only looking at heartwarming animal videos and updates from friends. Working hard to save my keyboard from a vomit bath.




13 thoughts on “Empathy and compassion: Get some.

  1. The capacity some people have for cognitive dissonance just blows me away.

    And that lotion thing is the WORST! It happens to me at my desk at work all the time – lotion on my papers, laptop, clothes. Bleh!


  2. I do the same with Facebook—scroll right on by. I make my status updates as obnoxious as possible. More along the line of — *you know when you have your hand under the pump on the lotion bottle and the lotion squirts far beyond your hand and lands on the counter? Yeah, I hate when that happens*.

    I’m sure there in an extremely small amount of people who take advantage of the help offered. A person who calls people lazy and believes they should get over it and help themselves—when was the last time they looked at the minuscule amount budgeted by Congress for programs such as education and helping the less fortunate?

    I have a friend who was VERY vocal about the *lazy* people, until she lost her job and became one of them. Also, she has a husband on disability for a bad back–however, he manages to build huge gazebos and travel for long lengths of time pulling his travel trailer from car race to car race. Hmmmmm….

    Liked by 1 person

  3. So glad I came here tonight to check out your post. Wonderful. This is one of my pet-peeves, and the subject of a convo I had with a co-worker just this week. This is giving me a little push to write a post I’ve been ruminating on for some time. Thank you for saying these words, and I like your idea of ignoring the FB banter that is counterproductive to moving our country forward.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I think about this sort of thing sometimes when my son and I are volunteering at the local soup kitchen. Because “lazy” sure seems like the wrong adjective for someone walking a mile through the cold dragging a wobbly folding shopping cart to pick up groceries from the food pantry. Or for a family who bundles up 3 tiny children and schleps them plus their booster seats from a distant parking lot to get an evening meal in a loud and crowded room with strangers.


  5. Hahahah…A FB debate with the prime minister would be great! And I’m afraid it would be the same response from most of the politicians in my backwards state, and most of the U.S. congressmen. It makes for a frightening world.


  6. You weren’t having a Facebook debate with our prime minister were you? Because that’s pretty much his argument. Except that I wouldn’t say he’s experienced anything close to debilitating poverty throughout his Ivory-towered existence.
    Yep, I want to vomit too. It’s short-sighted to not want to pull people out of poverty to create a can-do society.

    Liked by 1 person

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