Being a prisoner of my own conscience

>> Wednesday, February 2, 2011

One cold winter morning, I was waiting for the bus. A group of 7-8 boys were standing there, making noise and being obnoxious, while they should have been at school. They were obviously looking for attention and got into play-fights every now and then. I'm ok with that, but when they bump into old people on the street, nearly knocking them over and so on, I think they're obnoxious. They would also grab a girls hair and have a loud mocking laugh about it.

I could tell they were refugees from their attire and the fact they couldn't speak the language.One of the boys kept a bit to himself. He hesitantely laughed with the boys, but I could see the doubt in his eyes. He never spoke. As we all got on the bus, I couldn't help but keep my eye on him from afar. I could see how he was studying his surroundings and making up thoughts in his head. All quiet. And my heart went out to him. Here is a smart, thoughtful boy, insecure of himself, trapped in a toxic gang of his own peers, ready to pressure him into doing things he probably would think is wrong. I started thinking to myself, where did he come from? What had those deep brown eyes seen on his path to come to this country? Did he have parents, or had he come alone? What kind of future does life have in store for him?

So..... in my last post, I mentioned how growing up depends on your ability to stay true to yourself and become aware of your personal strengths and weaknesses. I have one that I consider to be both (but sometimes just a weakness) ... I am a prisoner of my own conscience. The story above is a typical example. I always see between the lines. I always see what others can't see or won't pay attention to. And I always ask myself: "What if it were me?" Seriously. What if it were me?

Because of this, I have always been the little girl who brought stray animals back home, let people stay with me, give my money away and often bend over backwards to help people. I am glad I have this ability, because I know I am doing something good, but at other times, I wish it would leave me alone, since it stings me so. It's stung me in the sense that of course, many people have taken advantage of me. But I have become wiser now, so it usually doesn't happen. But it hurts to have so much empathy for everyone who has a problem. With the world we live in, it can sometimes feel very overwhelming. It caused a lot of depression for me in my early years. I have learnt how to deal with all this sadness and remain positive now, but it's a daily effort.

I am still determined to make a bigger difference than what I have so far. This is the essence of who I am. But, I have to work on my feelings, to not let it get so far that helping others becomes a threat to my health. And that is one of my new lessons. Nuff said - those of you who want to imagine one of the things I am already referring to, feel free.

All that being said, I do think, that for those of us who are blessed enough to even have the spare time in our lives to get on a computer and blog about ourselves have a duty to stay informed on what's going on and at the very least, have empathy for those who aren't as fortunate as we are, and also contribute to do what we can to make a difference. Not everyone are as blessed as us and most of the time it's never their fault. A little help along the way can make such a huge difference in a person's life, not to mention change their outlook on humanity itself. So pay it forward when you can, they won't forget.

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Anonymous,  February 3, 2011 at 12:13 AM  

"...growing up depends on your ability to stay true to yourself..." and principles without allowing it to be drowned by public perception.

Happy New Year

doll February 4, 2011 at 12:07 PM  

i can relate with this empathy thingy.. because i am like that as well

BSNC February 4, 2011 at 4:15 PM  

I used to pay it forward too much and i try to please everyone. It took me a while to realise that you can't please everyone unless your are trying to kill yourself in the process.

Currently i try to do the little i can for others and do the best for myself.

Rita February 4, 2011 at 11:11 PM  

'Must have been a thought-provoking day for you...even as I ponder on your questions, I am forced to empathize. The best we can do is try to make a difference in our circle of influence and pray every other person is thinking same...:-)

jhazmyn February 8, 2011 at 11:01 AM  

I like how u see your empathy as a strength and not a weakness, cos it actually is...we learn better along the road how to be wise as we give of ourselves to others (although, i still think there would still be hurts, we'd just learn better how to handle them)

Funms-the rebirth February 8, 2011 at 12:20 PM  

after all is said and done, there is only so much we can do, just don't get lost in trying to do so. Make a difference in the best way you really can without getting yourself hurt

Natural Nigerian February 8, 2011 at 5:59 PM  

Ah, Adaeze, I could write a book on this topic.

When I became a mother, it was as though my heart expanded and became bigger.

I would feel very real physical pain and heaviness in my heart from hearing about people's difficulties and I had this compulsion to help everyone. It was not funny, I tell you.

I think that what is right is to find a balance. My recommendation would be to pay it forward but not at a detriment to yourself. Unfortunately, a lot of human beings are conditioned to instinctively take advantage of people that are really helpful.

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