I do not celebrate or wish death, pain, or suffering on anyone, including anyone who has caused that to happen to others. I say this because I believe that celebrating or wishing will not change the person who delivers death, pain, and suffering onto others. I think we have to live our lives with kindness and compassion, and not to become like the people who their lives with cruelty and malice to others.
Why do I say this?
I say this because someone who has acted with cruelty and malice towards others won’t change just because they’re suffering now. There are people who have suffered painfully with the very things they have denied and fought against and who haven’t changed one damn bit for the better. People only change if they choose to. If someone feels shame, guilt, regret, and remorse for their cruelty and malice they have one of two options: accept those feelings and try to live without being cruel to others, or deny those feelings altogether and go on being the cruel and malicious monsters they are. People who need to feel shame, guilt, regret, and remorse and use it to make amends and learn how to live without cruelty and malice very rarely, if ever, change. Why? That’s a question for them to answer, not you or me.
Over the last couple of days I’ve been going through a lot of my thoughts and feelings about things like empathy and forgiveness because of a major event that’s happened (the super-spreader COVID-19 event at the White House Rose Garden last week that has the President in the hospital). The reason for the waterfall of thoughts and feelings is there are calls to show empathy to those diagnosed and being treated despite the fact they denied, minimized, and demonized those who have had it, died from it, and are trying to prevent the spread of it. For many people who have lost loved ones to this awful pandemic or have survived it, or have had loved ones who survived it, these last few days have been a huge battle for them. The talons of pain and grief are sharper and deeper than ever. So in my definitely not-so-humble opinion here, they don’t owe anyone who dug those talons into them things like empathy and compassion, or most of all, forgiveness.
I’ve said forgiveness is when you remove talons that someone else sunk into you. You do that by facing that pain and learning how to live with the memory of it for the rest of your life, and knowing there are no words or actions that will ever take it all away. And if someone feels shame, guilt, regret, and remorse over what they did to you, that’s for them to deal with, not you. For those of us who have been hurt because of something we didn’t do wrong, we have to learn how to let go of our shame, guilt, regret, and remorse that we shouldn’t have felt at all.
I believe in free will and that each person can choose how to live their lives. I’ve thought a lot over the last few years about how to live my life and what I believe in. I work hard not to sink into the pit of despair and anxiety. I work hard to tell myself I’m not a worthless piece of shit-human who will never fully be a part of anything or anyone’s life. Being such a quiet loner is something I have to deal with on my own. But it doesn’t mean I can’t believe in the ideals that I do have and try to integrate them into my daily life as much as possible. Feeling things can be total fucking hell sometimes. But I wouldn’t stop doing that for anyone or anything, even if it makes people want to lash out and hurt me. My relative isolation is a shield against most of that now.
If someone is in pain but is still living without compassion or empathy for others, I believe you can be kind to them without denying their cruelty and malice. You can be the better person in not hurting them in return, in caring for them. You can do this because this is what it means to live without cruelty or malice in your life. But if you can, I also believe you have the choice of walking away, too. And I believe you have the choice of not fully engaging emotionally, either. I don’t believe you have to open yourself up to more pain if you can’t walk away, or if you choose not to do that.
But I will say this: it’s not easy to walk away, or live in relative isolation, or not fully open yourself up. This is something I deal with even after I have removed those sharp talons of pain from my heart and soul. And why it takes me so long sometimes to find peace, happiness, and joy sometimes.
So I say celebrate life, celebrate the good in this world even though you will never, ever forget pain and suffering. Don’t let go of the good in this world, and in yourself most of all.