You Can’t Soothe Pain With Sympathy, Stop Baiting People, You’re Hurting Yourself More.

People have long told me I’m an emotionless asshole. My husband, Tom, likes to say that I’m like Data from Star Trek: The Next Generation. For those who lack culture, Data is a sentient android created by humanity (well, A human) who has no emotions, but spends his days acting the way he logically imagines who ought to react if he were human.

Somedays this is an accurate depiction of how I interpret my current state of mind.

I see friends, acquaintances, and cute guys I’ve added just because they’re cute–I see them post on Facebook almost every day about some problem they are coping with. Logically, I assume that when someone posts about their problem in a public forum, they are seeking and are open to solutions.

If I so desire, I’ll provide a solution. In the last year or so, I’ve done this significantly less often because I always end up getting attacked for not being sensitive enough by either the OP or their emotionally charged friends.

(PAUSE THE BLOG! THIS IS REALLY IMPORTANT, MITCHELL. I JUST READ WHAT I’VE WRITTEN SO FAR AND THOUGHT IT WAS STUPID AND WAS GOING TO QUIT. I’M ACTIVELY CHOOSING TO CONTINUE WRITING THIS THOUGHT OUT, DIRECTIONLESS, BECAUSE I COMMITTED TO IT!) 

I’m back.

To give an example, maybe the person is complaining about their general unattractiveness to potential mates. ..and they aren’t even remotely ugly (if you’re ugly, you have a right to complain). Maybe they’ve been on dates and the other person just wasn’t into them. It happens.

First, low self-esteem is uber-attractive…to manipulative assholes who feed on that sort of thing. Secondly, the response they get on their post will be oodles of “You’re beautiful!”, “I’d date you!” and the like. Well, this is where I start to get annoyed.

You see, at this point I question the OP: Are you posting because you want help on how to be more attractive to a potential mate, or are you posting because you want sympathy? I’ve learned that 90% of the time, they’re seeking sympathy.

The secret is that you can’t soothe pain with sympathy; you can’t raise self-esteem with outside influencers. If in one’s own mind they feel they aren’t attractive enough, worthy enough, then having people say “You’re beautiful” because you asked for it does nothing. It actually hurts you more, because you know everyone is lying to you. It’s ironic how the implicitly solicited compliment compounds the self damage.

The shit fact about self-esteem is that you cannot lie to yourself. What can you do to help yourself right away? Stop writing these sympathy-baiting posts. I’m not saying to stop writing all of them, no one is perfect. Being aware of how they impact you will reduce 99% of them.

You want to soothe your pain? You want to feel better? Understand that you are enough, that you are equipped with a mind that is adequate to face the challenges and obstacles of everyday life. And also understand that no one is coming to save you. You have to save yourself.

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