This is a new series wherein I chronicle life lessons I should have learned a long time ago but didn't. So now I'm writing them, for the public, in order to increase my chances of not forgetting this time, dammit.
They are written as though I am talking to myself, well, because I am.
You try your hardest to be an empathetic person.
You are not always good at this.
Sometimes you watch Hoarders and you get really impatient with the Hoarders because WHY CAN'T THEY UNDERSTAND THAT 37 DEAD CATS=BAD and then you feel bad that you felt that way toward them because they only wanted to feed the cats and their poor brains can't understand that with so many cats, why is Fluffy missing now, oh well here is another one that looks exactly like Fluffy, and Fluffy is probably just taking a long nap underneath that pile of old newspapers and rotten pumpkins. Silly Fluffy.
It's probably good that you feel bad about being impatient, because you know, disorders and stuff.
So that's when you go back to real life and think to yourself that bad behavior in someone is a result of their own personal pain and hardship, and you try to be forgiving of bad behavior because that's how you hope someone would treat you if you were hurting.
But here's the thing, Self: some people are just broken.
Because of their brokenness, they will make bad decisions, repeatedly. They will say or do malicious, hurtful things, because that is the nature and reality of their brokenness. And sometimes, you'll get caught up in that...and no amount of empathy or forgiveness or patience on your part will make their behavior change.
It's not about you, you know.
You can't fix everyone just by being nice or by adopting an air of understanding. Sometimes it's okay to walk away if their brokenness begins to affect you adversely.
And let's be honest, some people not only don't want to be fixed (or hell, even know they need fixing), they definitely don't want to be fixed by you.
It doesn't mean you've failed, or that you could have done anything differently. It's okay to dust your hands off and say, "Not my problem."
(Of course, you could probably stand to be a little less prideful of your own "I-got-it-togetherness" in these sort of situations. But that's a lesson for another day.)
So just remember...it's okay to not be able to fix things that are broken. No. Really. It is.
Now back to watching Hoarders.