reply to post by BohemianBrim
I found your questions extremely interesting, and most of the responses disappointing or filled with ridicule.
I'm going to respond sincerely, just to work through them myself. I'll share, since that's what you asked for.
Pride in my own ability to avoid their fate?
Pity that they are so unfortunate?
Sad that I cant help them?
Anger that they cant figure it out for themselves?
Indifference because their problems are not my problems?
Love because they are the same as me?
My first response is actually to your thread title "How SHOULD I feel..."
Well, "should" is a word that implies judgment. A good question it brings up is simply "should I feel anything? And if so, what is the more
spiritually enlightened and empowering emotion on which to focus?"
In my view, everything we experience is an opportunity for learning. And our responses to the stimuli are completely subjective. Certainly I think it
is useful to observe others and then consider their apparent responses to the stimulus present in their lives. Like a few thoughtful respondents have
pointed out, whatever one "feels" about the "flaws or failures" of others are not necessarily what those being observed are "feeling" about it.
As an observer, however, with the capability to feel compassion (i.e. to engage in imagining how the sufferer might be feeling about their plight),
any or all of the "feelings" above are acceptable. Do you feel you need to choose only one and discard or ignore the rest? Perhaps every one of those
feelings is an indication of your depth of humanity.
Perhaps a more compassionate take might be to feel "relieved" or "fortunate" that you would have, in your worldview, handled something similar in a
different fashion. But then, one must consider that each person in the same situation and given the same choices/options will respond or not-respond
based on their capacity to do so. I honestly believe most people in the world (who are not flagrantly outside the establish "norms" of their culture
or society's expectations) are doing their personal best. Sure, it's great that you would have handled it differently, but as you said, it's not your
problem they were dealing with. It was their own.
Sure, it's appropriate to feel "empathy" or "sympathy" for someone who is in your estimation unable to resolve problems that seem simple to you. But
people who fail are also entitled to dignity, and may resent someone's pity. Or, they may demand someone's pity. It would require knowing what the
sufferer's deepest needs -- that are not being met -- are, and really only the sufferer can know that.
I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.
Sad that you can't help them?
I think it's fine to feel sad when you can't help someone you care about. But as others have pointed out, a person really has to make their own
choices in order to learn and grow. Unless you are invited to help, you cannot. And even if you offer suggestions, they are free to choose to ignore
your advice, and responsible for taking action more appropriate.
As an example: Parenting is, in my experience, the most difficult job a person ever undertakes, and it is truly heartbreaking to watch your child
suffering even while knowing that they must endure their own consequences.
Perhaps "frustration" is a better flavor for this one. Do you mean anger *at* them, or anger *on their behalf.* I don't think being angry at someone
helps anyone. It won't help them, it will, if anything, drive them away from the person they have "angered."
That would depend on what sort of relationship you have, if any, with the person. Really loving someone is, in my view, wanting what's best for them
regardless of any benefit to yourself.
Nevertheless, if we came unglued due to the suffering of every other person breathing the atmosphere of
this planet we would be overloaded. Conversely, if we never gave a crap about anyone else, we would -- in my view -- be less than human.
What sort of love? Brotherly love -- as in "neighbor as thyself", or literally your biological "brother" -- or romantic love? I think of love in this
circumstance as "compassion" and "acceptance".
And excellent read for you (when you're done with the Tibetan Book of the Dead):
>>>>>>>>>>The Road Less Travelled
by M. Scott Peck.
What about when their flaws affect your life?
You have a right to refuse to respond or to leave the relationship. And also to hold
them accountable for damage done *to* you.
Should you just learn from that?
In my view, you should try to learn from everything that occurs in your life.
Are the problems that they cause the lesson, or are they themselves the lesson?
Should you learn to avoid them? or should you learn to embrace them?
Depends on what damage they are inflicting on you, and assess
whether you are at all responsible to them.
What is the true path?
Do I only learn from my fate and my path?
Or do I choose my fate and path by how i choose to apply what I have learned?
The "true path". That is life's great question, my fellow human being. Lots of different opinions in the world. My belief is that "Truth is not
determined by a show of hands."
If you subscribe to the idea that we are all interconnected, we should be both attuned to our "own" fate and path, and also observant of the path
others are following.
Yes, I believe you choose your fate and path by making choices based on what you have learned.
There ya go, my answers.
edit on 28-8-2011 by wildtimes because: (no reason given)