Many times in our lives we deal with people who have little concept of empathy.
We deal with supervisors and bosses who don’t get that you’re sick and your productivity won’t be at your best. We deal with people who won’t open a door for a pregnant woman because she still has two arms and can walk. We deal with unempathetic individuals on a daily basis and yet continue on with our days as if every day is a reboot.
But what about when those who are closest to you don’t display empathetic qualities when your illness or condition is a source of inconvenience for you?
I’ve experienced this before but I see it happen to others far more often. The deaf girl whose friend doesn’t feel like interpreting because she’s waiting for a text message. The Touretter whose friends look embarrassed that they have to help their friend until the tics pass over .The girl in the wheelchair who isn’t listened to because she isn’t able to walk.
If you’ve ever been that friend or relative to someone who has special needs, I want you to step inside their shoes right now. I want you to imagine that you’re blind or deaf or ticcing and one of your able bodied friends looks embarrassed to be out with you in public or they say they don’t feel like interpreting for you. Or, just maybe, they think you’re slowing them down. What if they think they’d be better off without worrying about being friends with someone who “isn’t normal”? Doesn’t feel good, does it?
All I’m saying is is that Empathy isn’t just a one way street. You get so much back when you show patience and understanding. Because one day you may need just that.