There but for the grace of God, go I. I was recently accused of not having empathy, but I do have a very limited empathy; I have empathy for people blindsided by nature, people losing their loved ones, people who, through no fault of their own, have had bad luck/act of God befall them.
I have absolutely no empathy for people who make bad decisions and then reap the consequences. I have no empathy for “marginalized groups” or professional victims. I have no empathy for drunken chicks/guys that do stupid things. I have no empathy for people living in shitty circumstances.
There is a little tug at my heart strings for kids of crappy parents, but the problem with helping the kids is that it rewards the crappy parents. Also, kids are really resilient, so hopefully their crappy parents won’t scar them too much, but the problem today is that there are so many crappy parents. I just don’t have a solution for that problem.
When you start taking full responsibility for your actions, you have little tolerance for those who don’t. Some people see bad things happening to other people, and I see a person making bad decisions. I think that people like to think of bad things just “happening” because it takes away all responsibility for their terrible decisions.
They say that every plane crash is a series of bad decisions. You start out with one bad decision: did you overload the plane? Did you chart a route without checking to see how much fuel was needed? Did you do a thorough preflight to make sure the plane was in good condition? Have you checked the weather?
Sure, you can have problems with an airplane that aren’t your fault, but then how did you handle that emergency? Did you panic? Have you practiced your engine-out procedures? Do you know how to pull out of a spin? Where is the nearest flat place to land? Your job is to fly the plane as far into the crash as possible. Control it as much as possible for as long as possible. Don’t give up.
The biggest problem that I have with “there but for the grace of God” is that it signifies giving up. Like, if you ended up on the street, you would shrug your shoulders and stay there. Hell, no. I would fight it as hard as possible. When I see a bum panhandling I have NEVER thought that they could be me. Why would I have empathy?
Once I was driving past a homeless shelter with a friend, and there were a ton of them littering the sidewalks, and my friend said, “Even if I found myself homeless, I would never hang out with these people.” This is coming from a guy that has been one step up from homelessness his entire life.
So no, I do not have empathy for very many people. I cannot put myself in their shoes. I have no understanding of their thought process when that process can only understand that something bad happened and they cannot see how they caused that bad thing to happen. Once I started taking full responsibility for my actions I couldn’t excuse those who do not take responsibility for their own actions.