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Maintaining compassion & trust in the world

Siúil a Rúin

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People who exaggerate, lie, and use an image of suffering and trauma to get what they want can cause a lot of damage. It turns compassionate people cynical. When I was young I was absurdly nice and trusting of everyone, but I have compassion fatigue now because of encountering so many people jerking my kindness around to get something they want. Sometimes the people outright lie and make up complete bullshit and sometimes they exaggerate completely normal, but unpleasant situations into full-blown trauma and emergency. Sometimes people are telling the truth of their circumstance. I'm thinking of several cases both personal, online, and in the media, and how can it be navigated? Distrusting a claim to suffering or trauma can be outright cruel, but believing a false one has a long-term destructive effect as well because it erodes compassion and damages the credibility of people conveying the truth of their suffering. Being wrong with either conclusion could have equally bad outcomes when considering the long-term effects. How can a person react with true compassion and listening, but still leave enough room for doubt to not be manipulated?

Connecting people with professional resources is a start, but this issue seems to pervade social exchanges on so many levels that one cannot refer every friend, relative, and co-worker to professional services instead of ever having a conversation or interacting. We have to navigate this question to participate in humanity.
 
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Lark

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Marcel Maus is a good author on this, he wrote a good book called The Gift, which was about gift relationships or altruism, within it he examines stories, traditions and reports which seem to reveal universal norms in relation to gift relationships, for instance that there is an implicit understanding when you receive a gift that you are obligated to give another in return, that this gift will usually be of greater value than the one you received, also that beyond a certain point altruism is injurious. Maus himself saw this as vindication of welfare states but a condemnation of communism or similar ideas.

I think its useful to read sources like this because it can be a reminder that the persons you are or have dealt with, who can be selfish or who are duping or scamming others are not a universal type, they are actually going against type, for whatever reason, and have bad faith or conscience to contend with. A lot of people manage that, rationalizations are plentiful, commerce, marketing, advertising all encourage it a lot, they do not encourage virtue because it means less sales, less of a revenue usually. There's other authors, like Erich Fromm, who've examined just how and why character traits out of keeping with intrinsic nature or essence are so prevalent. Sometimes insight or understanding as to why things are as they are can be a consolation of sorts, if you've been scammed or are dealing with the reality of it as something which is normative or typical of people where and when you are.

So far as making judgements, I think boundaries, consistency, expectations, certain convictions, all that can help. Knowledge that you personally may not be able to resolve or remedy things is key too. Also knowledge of natural consequences too. Sometimes people are experiencing hardship and avoidable suffering, intervening, whether its money or simply consolation, supportive gestures etc. can be a mistake, it could be encouraging this avoidable suffering.

It can be a matter of mitigating the circumstances or consequences sometimes, this is what caring parents may do, but sometimes it can be about letting the consequences stand the better to teach different behaviour in future. The thing about that is though is that learning does not necessarily always follow on from consequences, in those circumstances the lesson can be repeated by life until its learned. Part of the best thing you can do is talk to someone in that circumstances and ask them if they'd do anything different in future, if they wont, then you could ask them if they've any doubts about what brought them to this point, its likely they may but on balance decided to f*ck up anyway/did not care about the consequences for themselves or others.
 

yeghor

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People who exaggerate, lie, and use an image of suffering and trauma to get what they want are one of the worst destructive forces on planet earth. It turns compassionate people cynical. When I was young I was absurdly nice and trusting of everyone, but I have compassion fatigue now because of encountering so many people jerking my kindness around to get something they want. Sometimes the people outright lie and make up complete bullshit and sometimes they exaggerate completely normal, but unpleasant situations into full-blown trauma and emergency. Sometimes people are telling the truth of their circumstance. I'm thinking of several cases both personal, online, and in the media, and how can it be navigated? Distrusting a claim to suffering or trauma can be outright cruel, but believing a false one has a long-term destructive effect as well because it erodes compassion and damages the credibility of people conveying the truth of their suffering. Being wrong with either conclusion could have equally bad outcomes when considering the long-term effects. How can a person react with true compassion and listening, but still leave enough room for doubt to not be manipulated?

Connecting people with professional resources is a start, but this issue seems to pervade social exchanges on so many levels that one cannot refer every friend, relative, and co-worker to professional services instead of ever having a conversation or interacting. We have to navigate this question to participate in humanity.

This is what beggars and con-man do most of the time.

Enneagram 8 (which I relate to Se function) are very good at this, especially when coupled with Ti.

We are not running a charity in the end. If they are in need, you can refer them to government or private charity organizations.
 

prplchknz

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I'm someone who is pretty honest and non manipulative but i've learned how to pick up on emotional manipulation from others and will now call them out or not respond depending on the person. I don't think everyone's this way, but i dunno i like people and have yet to grow cynical because the way i see it, is people are good society is what makes them not good, if we didn't have society with social games and rules and people realize that everyone has shit we would be a better world.

Also I've noticed when people accuse me of being manipulative or lying, 8 out of 10 times that's their MO so it's a bit of a projection. the other 2 is usually a misunderstanding that i can usually rectify and get us both on the same page
 

Frosty

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People who exaggerate, lie, and use an image of suffering and trauma to get what they want are one of the worst destructive forces on planet earth. It turns compassionate people cynical. When I was young I was absurdly nice and trusting of everyone, but I have compassion fatigue now because of encountering so many people jerking my kindness around to get something they want. Sometimes the people outright lie and make up complete bullshit and sometimes they exaggerate completely normal, but unpleasant situations into full-blown trauma and emergency. Sometimes people are telling the truth of their circumstance. I'm thinking of several cases both personal, online, and in the media, and how can it be navigated? Distrusting a claim to suffering or trauma can be outright cruel, but believing a false one has a long-term destructive effect as well because it erodes compassion and damages the credibility of people conveying the truth of their suffering. Being wrong with either conclusion could have equally bad outcomes when considering the long-term effects. How can a person react with true compassion and listening, but still leave enough room for doubt to not be manipulated?

Connecting people with professional resources is a start, but this issue seems to pervade social exchanges on so many levels that one cannot refer every friend, relative, and co-worker to professional services instead of ever having a conversation or interacting. We have to navigate this question to participate in humanity.

I complained about this at length with my therapist last session. It was all just me saying Im so annoyed when people just... give up. Just decide that “life is too hard” and give up trying. And then they get mad at people who DO try and say how invalidating it is.

Theres this whole subreddit called “thanksimcured” on reddit which is basically people taking genuine encouragement out of context and getting angry about it. Like “Exercise can help depression” is TOTALLY OFFENSIVE. Or telling someone that “at some point you need to get mental health help because otherwise nothing will change” is minimizing and its only said by people who dont understand THEIR PAIN.

It makes it hard for me to like people tbh. I want to be compassionate but people seem to do this thing where they reject compassion and caring and instead want just... to be excused from idk... everything. Take. Take. Take. And then how dare you ask for something from them because “they have it worse than youd ever understand”

Its like theres a suffering olympics now- and if you arent constantly screaming about how bad you have it- you donr havw it bad. But if you do talk about it then you are overdramatic... unless you are completely 100% nonfunctional. And imo that promotes just... character devolution and just... leads to compassion fatigue for all involved
 

Siúil a Rúin

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That is a really complicated emotional dynamic you describe [MENTION=29687]Frosty[/MENTION] I wouldn't know what to say to help people determined to hold onto pain that tightly.

I want to be a kind person, but I need to learn better about boundaries. I also don't want to say that I necessarily hate the people who manipulate with their descriptions of pain because they usually have some sort of genuine pain mixed in, but I do feel resentful if they successfully manipulate me and get me all upset and worried, use a lot of my time, or end up costing me money. All of that has happened and when I look back I don't take comfort in how "nice" i was because some of it wasn't actually help. It would have been more helpful to push them to help themselves, but the manner in which they presented the situation that did not seem like an option. I would have felt cold to push them at the time. It is actually really confusing.

I have good self-awareness, but my social perceptions and sense are like swiss cheese with holes in it, so I do get taken in. These social dynamics leave me wandering through life constantly feeling a little guilty, confused, and lonely because I don't know what to do about it.
 

тень

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Humans are always selfish, before anything else. Even compassion and kindness is an act of want. People are born with different personalities, and how they manifest this inborn selfishness takes many forms and faces. The only way to navigate it, is to recognize what people want, and finding ways it can benefit you both. That requires better character judgement, and life experience. Half of growing up is recognizing your own wants, and the other half is how to compromise them and obtain mutual benefits.

"Society" simply reflects human nature. It is born, grows, declines, and dies to reform again over the span of centuries. People today didn't used to be so bad, but as societal age progresses, so does its break down. Culture is dying, social cohesion is breaking down, and people are more neurotic than ever. It's no wonder people are becoming more selfish, and demanding. They are scared of the lack of future, instictually.

Anyways, the best way to handle people like you mentioned, is keep them at arms length and time will tell you all you need to know. Don't trust people at their words ever. Focus on why and what you want to achieve, and try not to be too self sacrificing. It isn't worth it.
 
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Sometimes people can't help being kind, or they'll take what suffering others say at face value, because the alternative is dismissing potentially true pain and suffering, and that's worse for them. But at the end of the day, learning how to help people within certain boundaries is definitely something to take into consideration when taking others' pain at face value.

Of course, if it's a known manipulator that I'm dealing with, I wouldn't bother with them, but sometimes you just don't know, and that's when drawing boundaries comes in handy.
 

Siúil a Rúin

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Very thoughtful meaningful posts in this thread.

It seems another complicating factor is that some people likely believe their exaggerations and/or imaginings so they have manipulated themselves as well. I know people can get stuck in helpless mindsets which can be arrested development where they form child-parent relationships in terms of reciprocity. They want equals to function as their mother towards a child.


When I was younger I thought the cost/benefit analysis was simpler: if someone presents pain and need why not believe them? It makes you a better person for trying to help and if they are false it's on them. After seeing the dialed up to 11 versions of the dynamic in people like Amber Heard and we likely all know similar personal dynamics, I realize more how destructive crying wolf is.

Even now I live in lower income apartments and feel a lot of need from my neighbors with also a gut feeling of several having boundary issues. I barely greet them because of not wanting to get involved and have people knocking on my only exit door needing rides and food for their pets. I feel badly for them but also uneasy. This issue presses on my mind from several angles because I don't feel good avoiding them but I don't feel good getting involved. I used to have an identity of being kind and I still don't want to hurt people but I had to let go of that sense of self because it's been used for guilt tripping.

I started studying information about reading lying in body language but even that doesn't solve this issue because I think people can believe their own victim narratives especially if they provide successful outcomes for them. The exaggerations can also evolve over time without conscious deliberate intention.
 

Siúil a Rúin

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There are people who are genuinely kind and willing to take the risks but my impression is that if you want to be in the trenches helping people then expect to feel like shit sometimes when people demand more or latch on like the drowning person scenario. You can't do it expecting positive emotional dynamics. The people who choose to help anyway are capable of some altruism I think. Motivation to do something because you believe it is right is not selfish in the same way as doing it for material gain. People aren't equally selfish.

Maybe it comes down to learning better how to do it, but also choosing the risk and cost. While I'm committed to not hurting people intentionally, I m not sure I want that cost. I do want to acknowledge that there are humans genuinely kinder than me. It's a mis-step to dismiss kind acts on others as secretly selfish. I think it's better to admit to oneself that while someone like me has kind motivations, I could choose to be kinder as well. TBH I don't know if I want that risk and cost but still want the world to be kinder with me in it even if I'm limited flawed and make selfish choices.

Edit: I'll add to this post because this is related and perhaps not meriting another one. I guess I'm trying to not justify whatever I'm doing. For example, maybe snubbing the neighbors has a little justification, perhaps it does not make me a bully or a big jerk, but it might make me a little jerk. There are humans who would do better and act in more kindness than I am doing and they would also be smart enough to figure out the boundaries and have enough courage to risk it. I might simply not want the cost and bother, but do want to be honest about that.
 

Anantashesha

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Distrusting a claim to suffering or trauma can be outright cruel, but believing a false one has a long-term destructive effect as well because it erodes compassion and damages the credibility of people conveying the truth of their suffering.

I used to have a bit of a radar out for struggling folks, though I imagine nowhere near your scope and with a reach and method nowhere near as sensitive, but I preface with that to provide context that this is something I've thought about.

On the other hand, it's not like I've experienced nothing but an outpouring of kindness, generosity, and empathy through my life, so personally- and this is only what works for me, it isn't advice, I'm just sharing- I maintain compassion and trust by doing these:


That was long. [Insert usual disclaimer that I'm only posting what I do personally.]
 

prplchknz

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I used to think everyone was lying, and would call people out, now i just don't care and if i know someone is lying i'm like "okay" and move on because honestly it's not worth the drama
 

Coriolis

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People who exaggerate, lie, and use an image of suffering and trauma to get what they want are one of the worst destructive forces on planet earth. It turns compassionate people cynical. When I was young I was absurdly nice and trusting of everyone, but I have compassion fatigue now because of encountering so many people jerking my kindness around to get something they want. Sometimes the people outright lie and make up complete bullshit and sometimes they exaggerate completely normal, but unpleasant situations into full-blown trauma and emergency. Sometimes people are telling the truth of their circumstance. I'm thinking of several cases both personal, online, and in the media, and how can it be navigated? Distrusting a claim to suffering or trauma can be outright cruel, but believing a false one has a long-term destructive effect as well because it erodes compassion and damages the credibility of people conveying the truth of their suffering. Being wrong with either conclusion could have equally bad outcomes when considering the long-term effects. How can a person react with true compassion and listening, but still leave enough room for doubt to not be manipulated?

Connecting people with professional resources is a start, but this issue seems to pervade social exchanges on so many levels that one cannot refer every friend, relative, and co-worker to professional services instead of ever having a conversation or interacting. We have to navigate this question to participate in humanity.
There is room for both. Many issues won't be solved without professional attention, but there is always room for caring and supportive friends.

I don't see any incompatibility between listening with compassion, and leaving room for doubt. In away, that room for doubt is tied to compassion for oneself, and the desire not to be hurt or overextended. We can accept what someone tells us as their truth at the time, without taking it as objective reality absent supporting evidence. That assumes that the other person at least believes it themselves. If they don't and are outright lying in order to manipulate, that is another story and calls for a different sort of response.

I have a fairly sensitive BS detector, but it is not infallible and is quite limited. The most it usually tells me is that something is off, things are not adding up. It rarely gives any hint of what the actual state of affairs is. As a result, I usually have little choice but to work with what someone tells me at face value. For this reason, while I might feel compassion toward someone based on what they say, I will usually not act on it unless I can verify the key points of their situation. This means I tend to intervene personally only when I know someone well enough to have a good idea of how accurate their accounts are. Beyond that, I contribute to organizations that I hope are better equipped to assess the real needs of those who seek their help.

It makes it hard for me to like people tbh. I want to be compassionate but people seem to do this thing where they reject compassion and caring and instead want just... to be excused from idk... everything. Take. Take. Take. And then how dare you ask for something from them because “they have it worse than youd ever understand”
Well, yes. It is one thing to understand that it isn't a level playhing field and even simple things are much more difficult for some people; and quite another to be expected to abandon any expectation of your interaction being a two-way street. It is hard to know what another person's actual limitations are, though, and what you can reasonably expect. Expecting too much is unreasonable and unkind; too little, and you are just enabling behavior that is harmful to both of you.

There are people who are genuinely kind and willing to take the risks but my impression is that if you want to be in the trenches helping people then expect to feel like shit sometimes when people demand more or latch on like the drowning person scenario. You can't do it expecting positive emotional dynamics. The people who choose to help anyway are capable of some altruism I think. Motivation to do something because you believe it is right is not selfish in the same way as doing it for material gain. People aren't equally selfish.
Well, yes. Many people in need of help are hurting to the point that they will lash out, even at those attempting to help them. I don't think I could sustain that sort of interaction on a personal level, and have a great deal of respect for those who can. This means I often express my compassion from a distance, through others, unless I already have a good relationship with the other persom, which provides a stable foundation for weathering the rest.

To get to the broader question: compassion and trust are related, but compassion is just one area where trust is important. I think trust overall has eroded as society has become more mobile, and it is harder to assess someone else through direct knowledge or word of mouth. Witness the preoccupation in employment with background check services and paper credentials over personal recommendations and demonstrated skills. We won't trust people, but we will trust paper and computer algorithms, even if they tell us a job applicant was convicted of rape at the age of 4 (true story).

Compassion to me seems essentially personal. Even when we "outsource" it to a charity, we are acting on our personal values, to address needs that speak to us. This relates to what [MENTION=37565]тень[/MENTION] wrote about the selfishness of compassion. Even when we put someone else's needs or wants before our own, we are affirming our own values. This isn't a bad thing. Whether on a societal or personal level, there is much more need in the world than even the wealthiest among us can address. We inevitably will pick and choose: donate to this charity or that; help the neighbor's kid, or our niece. These choices will be informed by our values, which can include things like efficiency and self-sufficiency.

It is worth raising the distinction between feeling compassion, and acting on those feelings. To go along with the above, we can feel compassion in more cases than we can personally affect, though too much of that can just leave us frustrated and worn out. If I cannot act on how I feel in such situations, I consider the feelings as so much wasted energy, and can usually channel them into something I can affect. To paraphrase a line in an old western, to fight injustice anywhere in the world is to fight it everywhere. This is similar to what Earl Grey's graphic is saying. The fact that we cannot help everyone, should not deter us from helping where we can. If everyone did that, however limited our individual resources or capacity, the world would be a better place. In that sense, maintaining compassion in the world must be done on an individual level, as broader programs seem better suited to exploiting it than fostering it.

I used to have a bit of a radar out for struggling folks, though I imagine nowhere near your scope and with a reach and method nowhere near as sensitive, but I preface with that to provide context that this is something I've thought about.

On the other hand, it's not like I've experienced nothing but an outpouring of kindness, generosity, and empathy through my life, so personally- and this is only what works for me, it isn't advice, I'm just sharing- I maintain compassion and trust by doing these:


That was long. [Insert usual disclaimer that I'm only posting what I do personally.]
I suppose my radar is simply to be opportunistic, in the sense of being aware of the needs of those around me, and helping when I am able to do so. Beyond that I actively look for more systemic ways to help through volunteering and contributions.

On an individual level, my compassion looks much as you describe in your first spoiler. I have noticed that missing/bypassing emotional needs doesn't sit well with some people, however much practical help I am able to render. The most I can do is be very upfront about my limitations, and try to connect them with others more able to meet these needs.

I like the list in your second spoiler. I usually have no trouble retaining what others would call optimism. To me, it is just seeing the way clear through whatever obstacles may present themselves. I have no justification for this other than my own confidence and vision - I suppose in MBTI terms this is related to being NI-dom - but it has played out often enough that I have learned to trust it. This makes it easy for me not to give up, as well as to focus on what I can do rather than lose energy bemoaning what I cannot.
 

Luminous

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People who exaggerate, lie, and use an image of suffering and trauma to get what they want are one of the worst destructive forces on planet earth. It turns compassionate people cynical. When I was young I was absurdly nice and trusting of everyone, but I have compassion fatigue now because of encountering so many people jerking my kindness around to get something they want. Sometimes the people outright lie and make up complete bullshit and sometimes they exaggerate completely normal, but unpleasant situations into full-blown trauma and emergency. Sometimes people are telling the truth of their circumstance. I'm thinking of several cases both personal, online, and in the media, and how can it be navigated? Distrusting a claim to suffering or trauma can be outright cruel, but believing a false one has a long-term destructive effect as well because it erodes compassion and damages the credibility of people conveying the truth of their suffering. Being wrong with either conclusion could have equally bad outcomes when considering the long-term effects. How can a person react with true compassion and listening, but still leave enough room for doubt to not be manipulated?

Connecting people with professional resources is a start, but this issue seems to pervade social exchanges on so many levels that one cannot refer every friend, relative, and co-worker to professional services instead of ever having a conversation or interacting. We have to navigate this question to participate in humanity.

I think somewhat akin to what several others have mentioned: Try to play to your strengths. I know that doesn't exactly solve the issue. It's an issue I deal with too, though I like to think I have a good BS detector as Cor says, but when the person themselves believes whatever it is or when they pull my heart strings just the right way, I know I could be fooled, especially since I can be a bit naive in certain circumstances.

You are obviously a caring person, especially for the underdog. Perhaps the best way for you to pursue helping is to try to take as much of the actual verification out as you can, while creating boundaries that allow you to be compassionate to others and yourself. Boundaries that could protect you and them. If you don't feel comfortable offering your neighbors favors, you don't have to in order to help because there are many other ways you can help. You could donate money or time or services to charities. You could even donate to a specific kind of charity if you knew a neighbor struggled with a specific issue. You'd be helping someone with that issue, even if it's not directly your neighbor. All without getting personally involved, overwhelmed, sucked in, or used up.

As far as how to tell. I don't know. I think most people don't outright lie about such things? I notice how consistent people are without really consciously thinking about it. That's where my BS detector is stronger. But it's not always enough. Especially if they believe it themselves.
 

Siúil a Rúin

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Many good posts here and it does all come down to boundaries but that can be difficult when situations are presented as emergencies and/or convincingly. Maybe part of boundaries for me is cutting myself slack for needing extra distance as I get my head around my own life and human relations. Maybe it's okay to not get involved until I do learn more.

There are a number of very sensible people here with kind motivations, so this thread is progressing wonderfully and I think could be a help for a lot of people reading it. Much appreciated on multiple levels.
 

Coriolis

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Many good posts here and it does all come down to boundaries but that can be difficult when situations are presented as emergencies and/or convincingly. Maybe part of boundaries for me is cutting myself slack for needing extra distance as I get my head around my own life and human relations. Maybe it's okay to not get involved until I do learn more.
The highlighted seems to get at the root of what this thread is asking: how can we trust that someone's needs are being accurately represented? I at least have no problem weighing someone else's needs against my own capabilities and limitations. I can readily say "no" if I don't have the right resources to help, or if doing so would come at too great a cost, to myself or others. Such an analysis presumes, however, that I have accurate information. I can work with someone to clarify and articulate needs that they might have difficulty expressing, but again, that presumes they are willing partners and want me to understand. Sometimes the circumstances and manner of their expression can appear manipulative or even to be toying with me (e.g. guilt trip, or trying to be hurtful). I try to imagine a context in which their comments would have some other motivation, because I don't want to assume the worst of them. I have read that genuine expressions of hurt, suffering, and despair can come across as manipulative when they are not. If I can continue to give, to help, in such a situation with minimal cost I usually will.
 

Siúil a Rúin

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I feel like the OP sounds too intense but I remember feeling overwhelmed at the time. There are a lot of unsubstantiated extreme claims going on in the media that i was also in mind of at the time.
The reality is that I used to feel empowered helping people. It felt good to be a kind and helpful person. After the complexities of human psychology I feel greatly disempowered like it's all above my head. I don't like pressure and control, so have also been hurt by it. I'm am at a bit of a loss. Like I said I don't hate the people, but see the destructive tendencies. I also get worn down by guilt tripping and feeling responsible when I can't be.
 
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Infinite Metamorphosis

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I wish I had some sort of valuable insight to offer the way I normally do. Usually I have all this experience that has shown me all sorts of different dynamics involved in matters like these. In this case, I simply am a good judge of character. I suppose I examine peoples' nature and do math with human behavior. There isn't much that gets past me at the end of the day, even if I offer a bit too much slack at first, giving people the benefit of the doubt. Sometimes others disagree, think people are more trustworthy than my claims, but in the end they always catch up and see what I was seeing. People are predictable and transparent in my opinion, and my heartstrings aren't easily pulled whatsoever.

I wish I knew how to share what I know, how I navigate things, and so forth. The only thing that I can offer is that there is one rule I always live by: only help if they're willing to help themselves. Unless they demonstrate effort and progress within their endeavors, I refuse to extend my hand. It's impossible to help those who don't utilize their resources. Rotting in their pity party all alone is often the best medicine for those unwilling to make necessary efforts themselves. It generally becomes miserable enough for them to do something different eventually. If not...well, it's not someone else's job to do the work for them, either way. At most, you can take a distant approach of trying to motivate them.
 

Infinite Metamorphosis

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Btw, sometimes that motivation has to come in the form of roughing someone up a bit. “Tough love” is often what people need. All the encouragement and softness never does any good, and all they'll respond to is a wake-up call, being shaken up a bit. I think it's easy to cross the line or screw this approach up, it can be difficult to tell how much or how little someone actually needs, especially if you don't know them all that well. I don't think everyone can tell which approach is best at which times, either. The lines are even blurrier in the times when your anger and frustration is genuinely involved, as it can skew judgment. You can't just keep extending yourself in ways that drain you, though. Being too gentle is a bad thing, sometimes people need to hear it said like it is. (However, if you do it in public spaces such as forums, those who are uncomfortable with that approach will inevitably think you're an ass, regardless of whether it ends up being the tool that finally works to get the job done. If you care more about the person's benefit than how you appear to others, that's mostly a non-issue, though.) You have to know your limits and not stretch yourself beyond them, and people at times need to know you've had enough, and you're drawing the line. Not manipulatively, or by bluffing, but genuinely. After all, you do always come first. You are your own responsibility, therefore you are your own priority. That applies to all of us. Hope that makes sense.
 
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