I tend to be an extremely empathetic and sensitive person. I probably care too much about how other people feel, so much so that I’ve been known to sacrifice myself so that others wouldn’t feel badly. I try to consider the feelings of others whenever there is a decision to be made.
I suppose this is a result of my childhood, of knowing how it feels to be disregarded and to have my own feelings, not only dismissed but denied. It’s also the result of hurting and/or losing some people I cared a great deal about, as I’ve written previously.
A friend of mine came back into my life about a year ago. She has reportedly had cancer no less than three times during the time that separated us. Upon reuniting she immediately informed me that since she’s had cancer, she’s decided that she will live her life without a “filter.” She will say what she wants, do what she wants, act as she wants and to hell with everyone else and whether they accept her or approve, whether her new found attitude hurts them or not.
That might sound wonderful, liberating, in theory, to some folks, but in reality it’s not possible to live your life steamrolling over everyone around you, not caring about how your actions and words effect others. Life just doesn’t work like that, society doesn’t work like that.
Yesterday she announced that she’s making a decision that will effect a lot of people around her, myself and my son included. After sharing her plans she informed us, more than once, “I don’t care whose feelings get hurt.”
That’s a very painful thing for me (and my son) to hear. The fact that she doesn’t care whose feelings get hurt was far more painful than the prospect of her choices impacting our lives, which they will as she is currently my son’s habilitation aide.
When she stated that she didn’t care whose feelings get hurt, she went on, to say that she’s looking out for her own son, the same way I would for mine. Not so!
I look out for my son, do what’s in his best interest, I’m his voice and advocate, BUT, yes there is a “but”… one can do so without hurting other people. I do look out for my son, but I try to take into consideration the feelings of others and do so in a way that is the least painful for everyone involved.
I’m fully aware that other people don’t necessarily feel as I do about this, as we are all different and we all come from different experiences that contribute to the way we approach any given situation, but I think if you’re going to have this attitude when it comes to the way you treat other people, you can’t get hurt if you are treated the same way.
If you think it’s appropriate to just be blunt and unconcerned about the feelings of others, then it should be equally as appropriate for people to be blunt and direct with you, regardless of whether your feelings get hurt or not.
If you’re not prepared to be treated as you treat others, then perhaps you’d be wise to do some reflecting and decide whether your choices are reasonable or not and make some changes.