Some Squee and Thoughts On Empathy

It is FRIDAY!!!!!  It’s SUNNY!

And the Veronica Mars Movie was FUNDED!  FLAIL!  In fact, they made their $2 Million goal in just 10 hours.  Because that’s how excited we fans are about the prospect of seeing our favorite characters come back.  Producer Rob Thomas threatened that Logan wouldn’t survive the movie if we didn’t hit $3 Million.  But that totally happened by end of day yesterday.  So Rob, how much to ensure a proper ending with Logan and Veronica together, hmmm?

Pal Andrew Mocete raises some AWESOME points about word of mouth in conjunction with this phenomenally successful Kickstarter–something that all writers need to remember when it comes down to making a career out of this business.  It’s not about trickery or promo, it’s about creating something awesome that people want to talk about.

I read a fascinating article on empathy this morning.  It was talking about emotional empathy and cognitive empathy and Sherlock Holmes and the implications on creativity.  Which is all super interesting stuff that you should go read.  But the part that really stuck out for me was this:

The more cognitively strained we are (the more we have going on mentally), the worse we become at adjusting our egocentric views to fit someone else’s picture of the world.

Oh, man, this explains SO MUCH about me.

Susan and I have been discussing this a lot lately because a lot of my anger issues are tied to people not doing things “the right way” (i.e., not efficiently, not correctly, not MY way–though that really wasn’t a conscious part of my thought process about things until she mentioned it).  In some cases my anger is justified…like when it relates to real work stuff where people just didn’t do their jobs as was expected and legitimately make more work for me (which does happen, unfortunately).  But a lot of times it’s not.  I’m choosing to apply my own black and white view of things to situations that are really more gray and it’s certainly doing more damage to me than serving any good purpose.  So I’ve been trying to be more aware of when I’m doing that, recognizing the reaction for what it is and shutting it down, letting it go.  And in doing so, I’ve noticed myself over the last few weeks having reactions that…I really don’t like about myself.  Reactions that make me seem like a really selfish (in a bad way), defensive, and–honestly–bitchy person.  And that quote up there really highlights why.  I’m looking at everything from my own perspective and nobody else’s.  This is not who I want to be.  Not only because I don’t think these are the qualities of a nice person but because that kind of empathic stunting is going to show up in my creative work as well, in characters who come off flat and harder for readers to relate to.

So I’ve taken some of these reactions, worked through them, and done exactly the opposite of what my instincts are shouting at me to do (which is mostly to tell people to go the frack away and let me work, damn it) and taking the time to focus on other people.  A deliberate, willful pulling my head out of my ass.  Which is, I won’t lie, stressful.  Because I constantly stress about not having enough time for things, dropping any of the zillion balls I juggle, and not getting things done and now I’m purposely adding OTHER PEOPLE’S STUFF to that list?  But I’m trying to be better about accepting THAT too.  That I’m not perfect and if I don’t get something done THAT’S OKAY.  NO REALLY IT IS!  Note to self: BREATHE.

Dear Eye, you can stop twitching at any moment.  Really.

Nobody said cultivating self awareness and personal growth was supposed to be COMFORTABLE.

But hey, comfortable can be boring, right?  Except in the case of favorite jeans and well-broken in cowboy boots.

Anyway that’s what I’m thinking about this beautiful Friday.  How is everybody else?

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2 comments

  1. Wow, that’s a major undertaking. Changing one’s perspective isn’t easy. I think I have the opposite problem. I make excuses for people (that’s what hubby says). I have too MUCH empathy. There has to be a happy medium where we can be a little selfish and still empathize with others. Life is a balancing act all the time. Welcome to the gray.

  2. You sound like me, constantly having to remind myself that sometimes it’s *good* to stop and focus on colleagues who are friends, and actually chat about nothing once in a while…

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