In the last few months, it feels as though my awareness to people’s levels of listening, understanding, and empathy has been heightened. My need to observe others taking in what I am saying, doing, and acting has gone up. In general, I’m pretty aware of whether someone loves, hates, or is bored about what I am talking about, but lately, I feel even more sensitive to it.
This isn’t really a good thing because I’ve already become more untrusting of the world and of what people tell me. I’m also not sure whether it means anything when I tell someone something that isn’t positive about my life, and they simply respond, “I’m sorry to hear that.” It sounds too PC, like they want to sound like they care but really just have no idea how to express that (assuming they do).
Ed had a lot of points during his life where he basically thought no one outside of our family cared about him… and thought even people in our extended family didn’t really care (this is probably true of both him and me since our relatives are terrible). Despite his extreme generosity to near strangers, he went through periods where he thought being nice and generous to people just wasn’t really worth it, and he used to tell me this whenever he was thinking about it. I always told him that he shouldn’t look at it that way and he should be kind to everyone, but now, I’m realizing how stupid that sounds. I believe in some form of karma – if you do good things, hopefully at some point, good things will also come to you. But it’s exhausting to be nice to everyone for the sake of being nice. The most important thing is just to be your damn self and to not be phony.
Ed never even knew how to be fake.