Last night I was texting with a guy that I had gone on a date with about a year ago. We didn’t go on a second date because I was going through some things at the time and the date didn’t end well. I had deleted his phone number and forgotten about him. I have a rule when dating, if things don’t go well, I cut my losses and move on. It makes no sense to me to try and make a relationship out of something that starts off poorly. However, this guy texted me out of the blue last week, saying that he was thinking about me and that he wanted to take me out again. Reluctantly, I agreed to consider it. Before we had a chance to go out, he was shipped out to Florida for training and was going to be deployed for six months.
When we were texting, the conversation went sour. I told him that I was very guarded because I have been hurt by guys who have been very cruel and abusive. He then started pointing out all the things he felt were flaws in me and essentially attacked my very being because, according to him I hadn’t dealt with my issues. He said that he was better than me and that a “good guy” like him wouldn’t want to date someone so screwed up like me. The things he said were very hurtful and pointed. He said that he just spoke the “truth” and that I needed to hear these things for my own good. Frankly, I don’t see how any of the things he said could benefit anyone. If he actually wanted to “help” me, then he should have put thought and love into his words. Instead, he chose to be harsh, ignorant, and evil.
He treated me exactly as one “those” guys of my past would have. He was cruel and abusive in his words. How funny that he thinks he is so much better than I. Clearly, I am flawed, but I deserve to have someone in my life that will speak to me with love and compassion. I deserve to have someone that will listen to me; someone that cares about me.
You do not help anyone with cruelty. You help by being kind, loving, and empathetic. You do not know what one person has gone through in their life or why they made the choices they made when they made them. You do not know what they were thinking or what other struggles influenced their decisions. You may not even really know what they are feeling and thinking in the present. You only know a tiny spec of their life. So who are you to judge someone else?
Relationships are hard. Life is hard. The last thing we need is people who put us down and make us feel worse for the life we have had. If you really want to help someone, then you should speak with love. I could sit here and let my whole day be spoiled, as I would have in the past, and feel sorry for myself because of his cruel words. I choose instead to pray for him to get better.
Just as the lack of empathy makes cruelty and oppression possible, the presence of empathy heals conflict. The ability to empathise makes us truly human, and the wider it stretches – from victims to offenders, from one ethnic group to another, from nation to nation and religion to religion – the less brutal and more harmonious a place the world will become.