I don’t know why it has to be this way. Empathy is supposed to be a good thing.
But it has a dark side. Very dark.
You know what I’m talking about. Guilt.
The unescapable curse of the empathetic.
I guess it’s a matter of dosage. A little bit of empathy is a good thing. Everybody should have enough to let them feel another’s pain. It keeps us human.
But an overdose can turn a person into a guilt sponge.
Or maybe it’s more that empathy gets twisted.
Whatever the reason, it makes it so I cannot watch THAT commercial on TV. You know, the give-us-money-so-we-can-save-a-dog commercial. The one that floods the screen with heartbreaking pictures of dogs that have been mistreated.
Even the thought of it makes me cringe. Those sad, sad eyes, looking at me, blaming me…
I tried watching once. Once. By the end of the commercial I had soaked up about a ton of other people’s guilt. And like any good sponge I proceeded to ooze it back out again. In the form of uncontrollable tears. Even though my head knew it wasn’t true, my heart felt that I had personally been cruel to each of those poor dogs.
And that was just a commercial.