Empathy For All

The title got me thinking about Midoriya and the subject of this post kind of fits with his personality and ethos… a happy accident.

TRIGGER WARNING: MENTIONS OF SUICIDE LATER

So this is another post triggered by something I saw in the kpop community and that got me thinking. This time it is Hyunjin.

Hyunjin has been through a lot this year and when he was due to come back to his group, Stray Kids, I wondered how he would cope. I thought it might be awkward or difficult for him but credit to his group members they made it as smooth as possible. It was like he never left and I imagine he appreciated that.

Then I thought, “Oh it’s good, he wasn’t affected too badly by the experience.”

However, when I watched the Family video thing they did, (*Bang Chan in the distance* “I’m five!”). I noticed he looked different. I figured they must have filmed it close to when he came back.

It wasn’t a big difference, he just looked like he had been through a hard time. He was still smiling and everything but beyond the smiles it looked as if he was not quite in a good place yet.

As Stray Kids had a comeback and more videos were released he gradually looked better and healthier, like he was glowing from within. Again, I credit this to the people around him and his fellow members.

So all of that got me thinking about empathy and who people are willing to be empathetic towards. Because with Hyunjin he has a life a lot of people desire. Those who seek to tear him (or people like him) down sometimes think, “Oh, he can take it because look at all he has.” And yet they don’t know how their words or actions can hurt a person emotionally and psychologically.

These days it is easier to have empathy for people who seem like they are down and out. Whereas it is hard to have empathy for those who seem to have it all.

I don’t just mean celebrities, I mean people with money or who are healthy or just look like they have their life together. It could be that one friend of yours who has the perfect relationship, the perfect physical appearance and the perfect job.

You see that friend and think, “Wow, they don’t know hardship.”

Then that friend comes to you and tells you about their troubles and you sit there like, “Huh?”

Now, you can either sympathise or empathise with this friend and try to help them or you can be like, “What do you know about struggle? You think that is struggle?” And then proceed to belittle their problems.

I’ve seen the latter happen in real life. I’ve seen it happen many times between friends or between people at church and it got me thinking about how it may look like their troubles are nothing to you but to them it is everything, especially if that’s the worst thing they’ve experienced so far.

Or, TRIGGER WARNING, there are famous people who appear to be ok and happy and well off. Then you hear of their passing due to suicide.

I’ve seen that happen in kpop three times now and it was sad each time. One of those artists was the same age as me.

All three of them were so young when they died… it’s just heart breaking. And yet before they died people didn’t take their struggles seriously, especially Sulli. They really put her through hell and for what? What do people gain from bullying or harassment? What do people gain from writing mean comments?

So it made me think, are we only willing to be empathetic to people who look like they’re visibly suffering? Or people who are poor? Or people who look like us? Is that our collective limit?

I hope not.

Now, disclaimer, when it comes to cancel culture it has it’s place. If someone commits a crime like R Kelly they should go to jail. However, these days people are getting “cancelled” for everything and even if they apologise (if it’s not a crime or along those lines) you’re not allowed to forgive.

It seems like as a society we’re only capable of extremes. It’s either you cancel everyone or you let all crimes slide.

*sigh*

This whole thing of only having empathy for visible struggles also effects people with invisible disabilities. You’ll have people harassing them and getting mad because they’re using disabled parking not knowing of that person’s invisible struggles.

It costs nothing to mind your business!

Just, it’s always better to be kind than to be mean. It’s better not to judge others because you don’t know their life. You don’t know what a person is going through or has been through. Even if you think you know, you probably don’t.

Everyone carries pain differently. It’s not always visible.

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