On Empathy

I have this simple principle in life: not to post anything gifted to me by a friend and, likewise, I’d ask them not to post anything that I give them. Of course, if it is a product they are selling and me posting that could benefit all parties: the seller and prospective buyers, I’d gladly post it on social media.

The reason is simple: I don’t know who else is/is not receiving the same gift. If there is anyone within the circle of the giver not receiving any, wouldn’t s/he feel excluded? How many people have I hurt unknowingly thus?

“But, posting it is a show of gratitude to the sender.”

I’m sure there are many other ways to show that.

“You’re reading too much into it. Why is everything forbidden with you?”

By all mean, if it is right up your alley, no one is forbidding anything.

You see, empathy is a word that we throw around quite easily. But to really have it, sometimes you have to experience the adversity yourself. That is what makes empathy a cheap word to say but expensive lesson to take.

Don’t shit where you eat

This principle is something that I adhere to. Recently, there have been two examples where I’ve been given this lesson, through the experience of others.

The first example is work-related and the second one is study-related. Either one, you do not bad mouth, you do not trash-talk the institution that feeds your stomach and your mind.

Here is a list of the Why-nots:

  • even dogs wouldn’t bite the hand that feeds them
  • it won’t necessarily show how bad the institution is, but surely it will reflect bad on your character
  • if you are leaving the place as you do it, think very carefully whether you really want to burn all the bridges. Especially if you are staying in the industry, chances are people in each field are inter(well)connected. It will come back to you full circle eventually.
  • it’s not the least, but surely it is the basic of all: it is just not right.

“But I have been so unfairly mistreated there.”

You deal with household problems in-house. You talk it out, voice out your constructive criticism through the available channels. Only if it fails do you have a liiiiittle excuse to bring it out in the open, if you think that the benefit outweighs the risk.

If nothing works, just get out. But shitting where you eat is not the way to go.

What I learn from solo bicycling

I like bicycling alone.

Along the way, I would meet people, either solo or in group bicycling. Some are faster, some are slower, some speed up, some stop to take a break. Mentally, you take note of all of them and most times you subconsciously want to compare yourself to them.

“How can they bike uphill without breaking a sweat?”
“If that person can do it in smaller wheels, there’s no reason I cannot do it in these wheels as well.”
“I should not stop, that person is older and he could keep the pace up.”
“I won’t let her race me”

But then as you pedal on, you realize that you cannot do that. Some people are faster than you perhaps because they are younger, used to do it, do it more regularly than you do. Some people take a break and you cannot look down on them, you don’t know their starting point. Perhaps they go earlier than you and ride miles farther than you.

The point being is, you don’t know their story. So, even in silence, you should not compare yourself to others. The only comparison you need to make is your own miles, from yesterday’s ride to today’s ride.

And smile.

You are sharing the road and all you riders are fellow travelers with your own story to bear.