Saturday, May 29, 2010

Life: The Game Of Perception

The Unilateral Perspective

I want you to think about games you've played or seen in the past. You know the type, anything from games for the Nintendo on to the PS3 and Wii. Games where there is only one perspective at all times, and that is your own, despite what character is in play or what scenario is being played out at any given time. It's all about you and your connection with the game. It is a singular focus, or a unilateral perspective, despite the many scenarios and adventures, despite the different games or their generations.

If you have played any of these games, it conjures up memories, doesn't it? It takes you back to a moment in your life when you were someone else and the decisions you made had no impact on your real life, and all the impact in the world in the realm of the game you were focused on.

What you didn't realize, I'll bet, is that life is much like that. Mmm....yeah, life is like a game. We walk through our daily lives with singular focus, most of the time, on how things touch us and impact us on an emotional, physical, cognitive, and spiritual level. And we do this with every step we take, every choice we make, and every action we choose, and every interaction we encounter.

Much like the game, each of these things, choices and interactions, have an impact on what will happen next and how one cumulative experience will play out. And we generally do this by weighing our options. Is something worth doing, even if it has a bad result? Will this benefit me in some way to make it worth doing? Questions like that tend to play through our minds even when we do not consciously realize we are weighing our options. And just like in a single perspective game, much of what results from those choices, comes directly from you and your perception.

The Multilateral Perspective

Now I want you to think about another kind of game, where in hundreds to thousands of people are playing at any given time. Its called an Mmorpg game or Massively multiplayer online role-playing game, which if you couldn't tell from the name, is defined as a genre of computer role-playing games in which a very large number of players interact with one another within a virtual game world.

If you Google the term Mmorpg games, what you'll find is about 16,300,000 results for them (but that number is obviously subject to change at any time). Imagine how many countless game universes are out there. And with all of those virtual universes out there, imagine the choices you can make in the person you want to be. For that matter, imagine the massive amount of people you will randomly encounter within those worlds: some you might befriend, some you might meet randomly, some you might fight with, and some you might be partnered with to battle other foes. The list goes on and on, doesn't it? It's almost mind boggling.

But there is a point to this. This kind of game, as opposed to the singular focus and the unilateral perspective of the first type of game, is a multilateral perspective with a broadened focus base, because there is direct interaction between different players, who unlike the other kind of game were computer generated with preset conversations ready in hand, are backed up by real people who have their own unique points of view to add to the whole of that virtual world. That's a mouthful, I know. So, let's look at it a different way.

This kind of game can also be applied to real life, because even as we go about our daily lives it's not just our own point of view that makes up the whole of the world around us. The person next door has a point of view. Your partner, friends, and even family members, have their own perspectives, as well. And these are unique unto themselves, being completely separate from yours. When these differing points of view converge, be it in the real world or a virtual one, there can be anything from total agreement to outright disagreement.

So you see, within the game even if you change what you are wearing, change your occupation, change your face, change your gender, change your race or even your species, beneath it you are still you and you are still interacting with other people. And we, as a species, are quite adept at wearing masks, be them virtual or psychological. Today I could be a male soldier shooting at zombies and tomorrow when I enter the real world and interact with real people, I could be the the most compliant of people, molding myself to fit the situation I am in.


All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances,
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages.
As You Like It Act 2, scene 7, 139–143

Life: The Game of Perception

If life is a game of perception, the world a stage, and all its people merely players, how boring life would be. While its true that life is all about perception, singular and shared, there is more to life than merely that alone. And if the world is nothing more than a stage for players to enact their scripts upon, how little does it truly speak about the people enacting them? Because life is not scripted. Life is not just what you or a group of people perceive alone.

And while we play a myriad of roles in this lifetime, beneath all of those faces...those masks, there is still you....the real you. And that person dwells beyond games, beyond perceptions, and beyond scripts and is much more than a mask or a player. Who is that person really, I wonder?

And yes, life is indeed like a game, but how much they reflect one another...well that's up to you and your perception, isn't it?

Friday, May 28, 2010

Empaths: How Is Your Self Esteem?

Let's talk about self esteem. One of the biggest issues Empaths suffer from is low self esteem. And even though this does not speak to everyone, it does speak to a vast majority.

This blog is about self discovery and potential healing for you. When you have actual answers to questions staring you in the face, something telling you that you have low self esteem, it's harder to deny it. And then you start thinking and you begin to look for resources to help change that. And that is the ultimate point of this discussion, to offer you help.

First I'd like to show you some symptoms of low self esteem. Please understand these are not all of the symptoms, and one does not have to have all of these to have low self esteem. Nor is this a medical and/or psychological assessment of low self esteem.

Some Symptoms Of Low Self Esteem

• Negative self-talk. You may constantly put yourself down and say things about yourself that you would never say about someone else.


• Frequently apologizing. You may take the blame for things that are not your fault.


• Focusing on your flaws. You see every little imperfection in yourself, and forget to notice what is good.


• Reject positive comments. If someone pays you a compliment, you respond with a negative statement such as, “No, I haven’t really lost that much weight.” Or “This old thing? I’ve had it
forever.”


• Avoiding risk. You cling to what is familiar and are afraid to try new things. You talk yourself out of doing things that might raise your self-respect, such as returning to school or
changing jobs.


• Avoiding eye contact. You have a hard time looking other people in the eye.


• Constantly seeking approval from others. You don’t feel satisfied until you know you have gotten approval or reassurance from other people. You are constantly asking others if they are mad at you or if they love you.


• Pessimism. You expect bad things to happen to you. You don’t notice the good things that happen to you on a daily basis.



Now I'd like to offer you some quizzes on self esteem. The first one is a link to a really great self esteem quiz. The second one has been copied and pasted here for you to view at your leisure.
Self Esteem Quiz

Self Esteem Quiz
By Thelma Mariano

1. I allow myself to make mistakes, realizing that we all learn from failure.

a) never or hardly at all b) sometimes c) frequently d) very often


2. My value as a person depends greatly on what others think of me.
a) never or hardly at all b) sometimes c) frequently d) very often


3. Whether I’m celebrating a success or getting through a rough period, I “reward” myself in self-defeating ways, e.g. overeating, drinking too much, or going on a spending spree when I am already in debt.
a) never or hardly at all b) sometimes c) frequently d) very often


4. I have trouble asking others for favours and tend to apologize a lot.
a) never or hardly at all b) sometimes c) frequently d) very often


5. I’d rather keep an unsatisfactory item than return it to the store. In a restaurant I’ll eat a meal, even if it isn’t what I ordered, rather
than return it to the waiter.

a) never or hardly at all b) sometimes c) frequently d) very often


6. I berate myself for saying or doing the wrong thing, calling myself “stupid.”
a) never or hardly at all b) sometimes c) frequently d) very often


7. I would do something against my better judgment rather than risk another person’s disapproval.
a) never or hardly at all b) sometimes c) frequently d) very often


8. When I look at myself in the mirror, I see only my flaws.
a) never or hardly at all b) sometimes c) frequently d)very often


9. I think of how my life would improve if only I were smarter or better looking.
a) never or hardly at all b) sometimes c) frequently d) very often

10. I graciously accept compliments and praise instead of tossing them aside.
a) never or hardly at all b) sometimes c) frequently d) very often


11. I do things which nurture, strengthen and relax my body.
a) never or hardly at all b) sometimes c) frequently d) very often


12. I am able to accept my vulnerable feelings like sadness, fear or anxiety.
a) never or hardly at all b) sometimes c) frequently d) very often


13. When I need comfort, I am able to turn to friends or family and let them know how I feel.
a) never or hardly at all b) sometimes c) frequently d) very often


14. I am comfortable expressing my angry feelings.
a) never or hardly at all b) sometimes c) frequently d) very often


15. I am able to assert my needs and wants with family members, colleagues or my partner.
a) never or hardly at all b) sometimes c) frequently d)very often


16. I recognize and value my need for solitude or “quiet time.”
a) never or hardly at all b) sometimes c) frequently d) very often


17. I actively pursue and maintain friendships with people I truly like.
a) never or hardly at all b) sometimes c) frequently d) very often


18. I balance my life with pleasure and fun, recognizing that I work harder when I am well rested.
a) never or hardly at all b) sometimes c) frequently d) very often

SCORING
Now add up all your points as shown below.

question 1: a-1, b-2, c-3, d-4
questions 2 through 9: a-4, b-3, c-2, d-1
questions 10 through 18: a-1, b-2, c-3, d-4


RESULTS



1-18 POOR
You rely heavily on other people’s opinions and find it
hard to assert yourself in your professional or personal
life. You are so anxious to please others that you
often ignore your own needs and wants. You are also
prone to rewarding yourself in self-destructive ways
(e.g. overeating). It is important for you to do things that
will nurture you – such as reading a book, swimming, walking
in nature or just listening to music.



19-36 FAIR
Although you make sure that you honour your commitments to
others, you are often self-critical and overly
demanding of yourself. You are quick to blame yourself
when things go wrong. Learn to be more tolerant of
your own mistakes and pay less attention to what others
may think. You do manage to find time for what’s important
in your life, which gives you a feeling of satisfaction.



37-54 GOOD
You know who you are and what you need to be happy and
usually are willing to take the time to do something
that will fulfill you. You are always trying to
improve yourself and surround yourself with supportive
friends or family. You see your strengths but may
need to learn to work with your weaknesses. For example, you may
have a short attention span and work best in spurts. By
recognizing this and giving yourself frequent breaks,
you will be more productive.



55-72 EXCELLENT
Congratulations! You have a deeply developed sense of self
and are self-nurturing. You respect your own feelings
as well as those of others and have no qualms about
turning to friends or family when you are in need of
comfort. You are patient with yourself. If you feel a
resistance to doing something, you get to the root of your
feelings instead of forcing yourself to go ahead. You lead a
healthy, well-balanced life.



Now that we've seen some symptoms of low self esteem and have been exposed to some quizzes about the level of our self esteem, lets look at some resources about how to improve it.

Resources For Healthy Self Esteem Building:

The Confidence Manual
How To Build Self Confidence: 6 Essential & Timeless Tips
Building Self Confidence
Building Self Esteem & Confidence
Life With Confidence: A Positive Way Of Thinking
25 Killer Actions To Boost Your Self Confidence
Building Self Esteem & Self Confidence
Building Self Esteem: A Self Help Guide
Building Self Confidence (another website)
How To Build Self Confidence

Thursday, May 27, 2010

10 Tips for Inner Confidence

10 Tips for Inner Confidence
By Christine Arylo

1. Stop Worrying About What Others Think

You can’t be responsible for how everyone around you feels about how you live your life. So stop worrying about how your family, partner, and friends will react to your choices, and start getting real about how you feel about your life. Ask yourself, “When I make decisions, do I think first of myself or do I worry about what others will think or feel?” Give yourself permission to put yourself first.


2. Do Things Because You Want To


Throw away the big O, Obligation. Give up the G word, Guilt. And make a commitment that everything you do, you do because you want to. Even for things you don't necessarily love doing, ask, “What is it about this action that does matter to me?” and act from that place. It’s all about your attitude. You can choose to be a martyr and a victim, or you can choose to be authentic.

3. Give Up the Image

We all construct images of who we think we are and who we want the world to see, and then attempt to live up to them. When the image you portray on the outside comes from who you truly are on the inside, you are being your authentic self. When the persona you show the world is based on fitting into expectations, ideals, and images set by society, your friends and family, or your work colleagues, you are living inauthentically. Choose to give up the false image and instead live from the inside out.


4. Know What Makes You Unique


Every person is born with unique gifts, talents, and inclinations that they are naturally good at. When you find them and use them, these gifts lead you to real happiness and success. Think about Tiger Woods. Born to golf. No matter how much you practiced, you’d never be as great as him; he has a gift. You have gifts too. Start noticing the compliments you often get from people. There is sure to be a gift there.


5. Be Clear About What Makes You Happy


Stop trying to fit into the expectations that outside forces—society, family, work, friends—have said you must achieve in order to be successful, happy, and accepted, and start asking yourself, “What really makes me happy?” Think about the times that you’ve been happiest. What were you doing? What did you have? Do the same for your most unhappy times. Compare the two to your life today and notice the gaps.


6. Know Your Emotional Triggers

We all have things that set us off or that evoke an overly strong reaction. It is time to stop letting them run the show! Pay attention to situations that make you spin, get your mad factor going, or send you into the pool of suffering. Be the boss of your emotions by having and taking responsibility for them, and don’t let them drive your life. To be your authentic self, you have to know what is under the surface motivating you.


7. Act on What You Know Is Right


Being your most real self isn’t always easy. It often requires going against what everyone else is doing or thinking. Being authentic means being true to what feels right for you, even if it doesn't fit the needs and sensibilities of other people -- parents, partners, and friends included. We always know what the best action is to take for ourselves, it’s just not always easy. Be committed to being you, even when it’s scary, and even when other people don’t like it.


8. Have an Opinion and Express It

Know what you believe and don’t be afraid to express it. People who live their authentic selves have convictions that come from inside their souls, minds, and hearts. They know their Truth and are willing to stand in it, even when what they have to say makes others uncomfortable. Know your Truth in all situations and share it with pride and conviction, knowing that your unique voice deserves to be heard just because you’re you.


9. Let Others See You


Be vulnerable. Share your most real self with the people around you—family, friends, and colleagues—and let them see all of you. The strong, the weak, the self-assured, the self-doubter, the funny, and the serious. Have and show your emotions fully—from sadness and happiness to anger and joy. When you keep the full range of your true self hidden, no one can know who you really are. While it may feel scary to be vulnerable, you’ll find that the more you show the real you, the more others will be willing to share their authentic selves too.


10. Never Apologize for Being You


Unfortunately, the world is full of people, including our inner critic, who want to keep us small, to play along, and to be good girls and boys. When we listen to them by apologizing for who we are, or discounting our contributions, thoughts, and feelings, we squash our authentic selves. Know that you deserve to be all of you, all the time. Be brilliant. Be you. And never apologize for it.

10 Simple Secrets for a Calmer and Happier You

10 Simple Secrets for a Calmer and Happier You
By Allan Lokos

1. Deal with Difficult People Gently

Pocket Practice: Find a place where you can feel completely at ease, sit, and say to yourself,
Only I can destroy my peace, and I choose not to do so.


Throughout the day, when it seems as if others are making your life difficult, stop and remind yourself that you are the one who determines how you feel about what’s going on. You are the one experiencing the words and actions of those around you, and your perceptions are entirely up to you.


2. Consider Your Words Before Speaking

Pocket Practice:
Work this sentence (or a similar one) into your conversations, especially when there is disagreement: “Let me think about that”

This simple statement can prevent us from making quick decisions that we might regret, or from speaking while angry, which we’ll surely regret. It also sends a message that we care enough about the other person that we want to take time to consider what they’ve said.


3. Free Yourself from Feeling Like a Victim

Pocket Practice:
Consider letting someone off the hook for a deed they committed

Sometimes we have to let go of our deep desire for things to be different or to have been different—because they aren’t, and they weren’t. We might have to give up a subtle belief that because we were victimized, we are damaged and can never enjoy a meaningful relationship or a successful career. We might have to let someone else off the hook in order that we might be free.


Remember, we cannot have a better past, but we can usually have a better present.



4. Open Your Mind to New Possibilities

Pocket Practice:
Choose a particular situation and practice “Beginner’s Mind.”

The essential characteristic of Beginner’s Mind is openness—the willingness to explore all possibilities. Beginner’s Mind sees past what it knows and openly embraces all options. Those with Beginner’s Mind are curious, free of preconceptions, and able to enjoy the wonder and exploration of life. Release what you know and, like a wide-eyed child, take it all in anew.



5. Accept Things as They Are


Pocket Practice:
Consider how your discomfort with a particular situation might be eased by accepting things as they are.

Suffering usually relates to wanting things to be different than the way they are. Sit quietly, close your eyes, and open the spaciousness of mind and heart needed for a change of perspective. Remind yourself that even if a particularly difficult situation you are now confronting seems insurmountable, it is not fixed and solid. It will change. If after contemplating in this way for a few sessions you conclude that the situation is unacceptable, you should be better able to explore your options in a calmer and more compassionate manner.



6. Trust That You Can Do It


Pocket Practice:
Focus on effort, not results.

When facing new and challenging situations, projects, or adventures, take a few moments throughout the day and remind yourself, I can do this, and I can enjoy it. I will give it my full effort; that’s all I can do. When we see life as an ongoing process—a process that includes challenges as well as easy times—we can accept that some things simply require greater effort. That’s the way it is. There’s nothing wrong, it is just the nature of things.



7. Allow Yourself to Truly Listen to Others

Pocket Practice:
Develop listening skills.

This practice can dramatically change your relationships.


Let go of your thoughts while the other person is speaking. Notice if, as the other speaks, your mind is already preparing a response. You may be agreeing or disagreeing, or perhaps thinking of advice to offer. If so, gently release your thoughts and return to listening. Determine that you will not respond until you have left at least a three-second period of silence.



8. Reflect Before You Send an E-mail

Pocket Practice:
Before clicking the send button on the emails you write, stop, close your eyes, and breathe for a few seconds.

It is an excellent practice to reread each e-mail before sending it and make sure it contains nothing you might later regret. Let thoughts like What is my intention? and Am I being considerate? go through your mind. If the email can be changed to better reflect the person you want to be, make the changes. Even your emails should reflect your true self.



9. Pause Before You Say Too Much

Pocket Practice:
When you sense that a conversation is about to become heated, stop and consider what you are about to say before saying it.

You can avoid tremendous grief if you remember that you can never really take back your words. Find a way to express your truth with kindness.



10. Know When You Can and Can’t Help Others


Pocket Practice:
Contemplate and accept that there are times when you can help and times when you cannot. Remember that just feeling bad helps no one.

Sit quietly for a few minutes and reflect on the following:


There is suffering in the world, including my own, that I can help to relieve, and I will endeavor to do so. There is suffering in the world about which I can do nothing. When I accept that reality, I am more available to experience and share my own happiness and that of others. I, and those around me, fare better when my heart and mind are filled with loving-kindness.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Consequences: The Karma Of Cause & Effect

You know, I'm not a huge fan of wikipedia. But sometimes its a place, like many others, that can offer you a new and/or broadened understanding of certain subjects. So in saying that, I want to show you what it says about Karma: about what it is, even from different religious standpoints.
Karma (Sanskrit: कर्म About this sound kárma (help·info), kárman- "act, action, performance"; Pali: kamma) in Indian religions is the concept of "action" or "deed", understood as that which causes the entire cycle of cause and effect (i.e., the cycle called saṃsāra) originating in ancient India and treated in Hindu, Jain, Sikh and Buddhist philosophies.

'Karma' is an Eastern religious concept in contradistinction to 'faith' espoused by Abrahamic religions (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam), which view all human dramas as the will of God as opposed to present - and past - life actions. In theistic schools of Hinduism, humans have free will to choose good or evil and suffer the consequences, which require the will of God to implement karma's consequences, unlike Buddhism or Jainism which do not accord any role to a supreme God or gods. In Eastern beliefs, the karmic effects of all deeds are viewed as actively shaping past, present, and future experiences. The results or 'fruits' of actions are called karma-phala.
In speaking about religions it is interesting to also note one other perception of karma which rises out of a pagan belief called Wicca. It is called the Three-Fold Law or the Law Of Three. It states simply that whatever energy a person puts out into the world, be it positive or negative, will be returned to that person three times.

In showing you these things, it is my hope that you will begin to understand how people perceive cause and effect through the eyes of their societies and religions. And how this can play a part in their daily lives, with each and every choice they make. This particular portion of the discussion is about Cultural Empathy, as much as it is about Karma and Consequences.

Now, when you break these ideas down and you take out all of the religious references about perception and deity, what you end up with is simple: cause and effect. Actions beget consequences. But consequences do not refer to judgments or punishments, because whether the action is positive or negative, it has a consequence, which in turn can be either positive or negative. So in essence what it says is that for every choice you make and every action you take, based on free will, there is an equal reaction born out of it.

Right now this all might seem very philosophical and impersonal, even though in the abstract you can relate it to yourself and apply it to your life and the lives of those around you. So lets personalize it a bit, break it down, and analyze it, shall we? (the answer is obviously going to be yes to this question...lol)

I'm going to give you some scenarios in which people must make choices. Some might be pleasant and happy, while others will not, but all will have consequences, none the less.

Karmic Scenarios

1. A young man with a family (wife and year old baby girl), who is the sole support of his family, gets his paycheck. On a whim he decides to go to a casino and play the slots. He sets a limit of how much he will spend to $20. Half way through playing he wins some money and decides to keep playing. And then he starts losing. By the time the night is finished he has not only gone through what he won, but through his paycheck, as well. When he goes home empty handed he realizes for the first time that night, upon seeing his wife and daughter, that they will go hungry and/or bills will go unpaid because of his whim.

2. A busy working mother begins to feel 'off' when she is around her daughter. So she starts paying more attention as time marches forward, when they are together. Small things, which she probably wouldn't have notice before start becoming apparent to her. Her child is listless, doesn't seem interested in friends, stays in her room alot more than usual, seems withdrawn from the world around her, eats far less than she used to, and doesn't appear to be sleeping well given the fact that the mother hears the child's television and/or radio on in the middle of the night. So she approaches her child, who seems to be putting up a stoic front of being emotionless, and speaks gently in the attempt to get her to open up. After a while a flood of information pours out of the child on a torrent of tears. She even gathers the courage to show her mother the small cuts on her arms. From that moment, they set about getting the child help together.

3. A young woman, in high school, decides she likes a particular boy. The catch is that this boy is her best friend's boyfriend. They get along well generally. And during one particular party, where in both of them get drunk (don't drink kids!!), they end up sleeping together. The boy is guilt ridden, but the young woman is adamant about wanting to continue from where they left off after their drunken interlude. The young man slowly gives into these feelings, because she is an attractive person that he genuinely likes. This goes on for a few weeks until the girlfriend/best friend finally finds out about it. She hasn't just been betrayed by a cheating boyfriend, but also by the person she considered to be her best friend in the world ~ the person closest to her emotionally. Broken hearted, she stops talking to both. The other girl begins to date the young man, but still feels guilty and hurt over losing such a long lasting friendship. And upon breaking up with the young man, a short time later, she attempts to rectify the friendship. But it never happens.

4. A brilliant young man, adept at computers, goes off to college full of trepidation and fear for never having been away from home for such an extended period of time. When he gets there, he finds a whole new world waiting for him: with new friends, new experiences and new things to learn. He slowly, over the course of his college years, develops into a well rounded person with an even stronger passion for computers. He keeps his grades up, even as he enjoys his social life. And upon graduating, he is able to find a relatively high paying job which makes him happy, because he is doing what he loves.

5. A woman, coming out of a horrible divorce, feels lonely and unattractive. She is afraid to start dating again so she simply decides that dating doesn't suit her anymore and begins to focus on other things in her life. Then one day she meets a man who she gradually begins to feel closer to than any other person on the planet. At the same time, though, she does not imagine this is love, despite being attracted to him. And then on a random day, he proposes moving in together. And she is both stunned/shocked and excited at the prospect, even though she had never consciously considered it before because she felt as though no one would find her beautiful in that way or want her in that way again. After much debate, she agrees and given time, she finds happiness once more in her life.
Now you might be thinking "Really, what was the point of all of those?" And the answer would be nothing more or less than taking note that all of them made choices, whether they are good or bad, and each had subsequent consequences arise out of those choices: Action and Reaction, Cause and Effect, Choice and Consequence. These scenarios aren't to denote and/or judge the differences in consequences based on positive choices vs negative choices. It's not to say 'you have to live this way as opposed to this way because of the consequences'. It's not to judge behaviors as particularly right or wrong.

Why am I not making this point? Because the most basic truth of human nature is that everyone makes choices in their lives, both good and bad. And many people who make snap decisions do so based on personal and/or instant gratification without conscious thought to the repercussions and/or consequences of those choices/actions and how it will eventually affect them and those around them. There is no forethought in these decisions. So while one can judge the behaviors based on how they affect those around them, one can not truly judge the intent of snap decisions, as to whether there was indeed an intent to cause harm. That is to say, a choice is a choice whether it is positive or negative, just as a consequence is a consequence whether it is positive or negative.

Now in offering you this insight in to choices, consequences and Karma, without judging the behaviors and/or motives of how one comes to those repercussions, what's the point? Well, simply put, its about awareness. When you are consciously aware of the potential consequences of a choice or an action, like how it will affect you and those around you, you tend to be a bit more careful in your consideration of the choice, so it goes from being a snap decision to one that is weighed to see if its value stands up against its possible outcomes. That is to say, if its worth doing compared to the potential it has to cause benefits or harm in reaction.

So let me ask you this: Can you see how your own choices and actions brought about different things in your life? Have you been able to successfully live with the consequences of your actions, whether you were helping or harming someone else? Or is it easier to place the blame for your lot in life on others and see yourself as nothing more than a victim of fate's might will?

While all of this, in the abstract, is easily understood and applied to our lives superficially, it is much harder to own up to our own part in bringing about the events that occur in our lives or the events that occur in others lives which we played a role in. It's much easier to say..."That's her fault, not mine. See how she hurt me and used me....blah blah blah" rather than accepting we had a hand in bringing about our own suffering or that of others.

Every person,
all the events of your life
are there because you have
drawn them there.
What you choose
to do with them is
up to you.
~~Richard Bach, Reminders For The Advanced Soul

But in saying that, let me reiterate this is not a guilt trip or me judging anyone. This is a statement about all of us, me included, as human beings. It is about taking note of our flaws and our need to avoid them, even through shifting blame onto others for what has happened. And its about learning to change that way of thinking, so that you can grow within yourself. Because this one single shift in perception can take you from being a 'victim' to being a complete person who acknowledges both their good and bad points within themselves. It's about letting go of the guilt and shame we associate with our negative choices based on the reactionary consequences of those choices...particularly in how they apply to others ~as to whether we have hurt others directly or indirectly in some way.

There is much to be said for this topic, probably much more than was covered within this blog. The important thing isn't whether you feel guilt over negative actions or shame over things that have occurred. It's about recognizing the role we each play in our own lives and how we shape it with our choices and actions. So think about it, because truly, I could hope for nothing more. ^_^



Monday, May 17, 2010

Empathic Identity

If you are here because you think you might be an Empath, an HSP (Highly Sensitive Person), or an INFJ Personality Type , if you have been struggling with the issues that arise from the possibility of being this (hypersensitivity, depression, anxiety disorders, feeling misunderstood and/or crazy), and are in need of answers and/or support, I have something for you to consider.

In the online odyssey, that is your search for answers, information and support, you will probably run across a plethora of titles and things associated with Empathy and being an Empath, as well as the other two titles. So lets look at a few of these ideas:

1. Empathy is a Psychic Gift.
2. Having Empathy means that I have other Psychic Gifts, as well.
3. Empaths are more highly evolved than other people.
4. Empaths are Lightworkers.
5. Empaths are Human Angels.
6. Empaths are Spiritually Enlightened Beings.
7. Empaths are Indigos, Crystals, and/or Rainbows.
8. True Empaths are born that way.
9. An Empath's purpose in life is one of service toward those in need, including, but not limited to, battling Darkworkers and Psychic Vampires.
10. The contradictory ideas that Empathy is God given and/or Demonic in nature. The first would be in associating Empathy with selfless compassion and altruism, ideals which many religions extol. The latter would be in associating Empathy, deemed a curse in this scenario, with sorcery, divination & the Devil.
Have you read any of these things? Has the idea of being an Empath taken you on a journey into a confusing world of new age metaphysics where you appear to be all kinds of 'special things' along with being an Empath? If it has, it probably has not helped you to develop a sense of yourself. In fact its probably done more to confuse you than anything else. So lets stop here and talk about the reality beyond all of those questions and answers.

Simply put, you are what you are, by whatever title you choose, be it Empath, HSP, INFJ, Psychic, Lightworker, HumanAngel, and so on. And there is nothing wrong with being all or none of these things. The bigger point here is that you do not have to be all of them to be one. You don't have to be psychic to be an Empath. You do not have to, realistically, be compassionate to be an Empath. You don't have to be selfless or bear titles like Indigo, Crystal, Rainbow, or Lightworker, either. And this is because what you are, whatever that maybe, is more than enough.

It's fine not to fit into all of these other categories. It's also fine to believe that you do. No one is attempting to dictate what you should or shouldn't believe with respect to yourself. This is, more to the point, to say you don't have to attempt to fit yourself to a mold someone else envisioned and/or compete with others with regards to who has more powers/abilities and who is more spiritually developed.

The first step in realizing your own identity, not just as an Empath, but as a human being as well, is to accept yourself the way you truly are. It's not about overlaying traits that you might or might not encompass over the person that dwells within you right this moment. It's about discovering the uniqueness that already dwells within you, even if it doesn't fit into any of the statements listed above. Because through those things you discover about yourself, both good and bad, you find your own unique purpose. And you become cognizant of the journey you've been walking on since you were born.

And while those things might not compare, in any way shape or form, to having a divine purpose, like those of the Lightworker and/or HumanAngel, they are beautiful in and of themselves and should be appreciated thusly.



Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Society & The Empath

In this world there are generally two types of societies. In saying two, though, we are not breaking societies down based on religion, culture, geographics, or by any other means one might think of. We are simply breaking them down into two branches: Communal & Individual. And this is also true for smaller communities, like subcultures and social cliques.

Communal

By Communal, we mean that people work for the benefit of an entire community, primarily focusing not on individual interests but on the betterment of the group as a whole. This is shadowed by the secondary focus of Individual needs, wants and desires.

Within the Communal society, there is a tendency for people to lean toward setting their own wants and needs aside or, as we said before, making them secondary to those of the community at large. What this means is that concerns are largely focused externally toward a greater whole, and when the community suffers, so to do the individuals within that sphere. Likewise, when the community benefits, each member directly and indirectly derives benefit from it, as well.

Now what is the ultimate goal of a Communal society? Harmony, balance, and living in peace. That is to say, when all of the members of a society mutually benefit, there is a kind of harmony, peacefulness, that permeates the people within its sphere. And this sense of peace can move beyond levels of status, personal power, and individual desires.

Individual

By Individual, we mean that people who are grouped together work toward the betterment of individual needs, wants and desires, with a secondary focus being that of the Communal needs of the Community.

The Individual society, in contrast to the Communal Society, tends to allow far more latitude where personal needs, wants, and desires are involved. That is to say, people are allowed to become more readily focused on their individual successes, specialized skills, and personal identities, which would set them apart from others within their respective communities.

At the same time, it would also lessen the direct impact an individual might suffer if the community as a whole, that they are associated with, were forced to endure or suffer deprivation of some sort. That is to say, the impact of this suffering would be greater for the whole, than for the individual who is more readily focused on personal issues. And thus, its effect might only be felt in an indirect way.

What is the ultimate goal of an Individually oriented society? First and foremost, it is about personal achievement and the development of individual talents and abilities. Through this diversity, it is believed that the whole (the community at large) will directly and indirectly benefit from the individual's achievements. So its focus is not one of peaceful harmony, like that of the Communal society, but on individual happiness. Basically, the happier the individual people are, the happier the overall society is.

The Crossover

Now what is the point of all of this, you might be wondering? I want you to think about the society you live in right now. And then I want you to think about the kind of person you are.

Do you live in a largely Individualistic society? And are you someone who is more oriented toward empathy for others? In other words, do you focus more on others and their problems than you do your own? And can you see how this could be a problem for you, if you answered yes to both of those questions?

In this discussion, we will not focus on how a person, who was raised in an Individualistic society, comes to have the personality of one who belongs to a more Communal society. The point is, these people do exist. And they tend to have an internal battle constantly waging within themselves because of the conflicting pressures they feel within themselves and from the outside world at the same time.

Internally, they long for peace, not necessarily happiness. They wish for everyone around them to get along. Individual skills and abilities, personal dreams and desires, and even basic needs sometimes, become secondary to the driving need to be of service to others...all with the ultimate goal of achieving some kind of peace.

Alot of the time this is because the people in question are hypersensitive to the emotions and/or emotional states of others. This heightened awareness of those around them, shifts their focus from themselves to that of others. And in so doing, their personal motivation changes from personal happiness to peace.

Now add to this persistent internal driving need, the societal pressures to preform, to achieve, and to add their uniqueness to the collective society in which they dwell and you come up with an internal struggle. Because the person in question is not built to focus on and develop themselves in this way. They are built differently.

And in this internal cataclysm such things like depression, anxiety (social) even to the point of agoraphobia, and extremely low self esteem can ensue because these people are often left with a sense of being misunderstood, judged harshly, or simply seen as an utter failure to the world around them.

Does this speak to everyone who suffers from depression, low self esteem and/or anxiety? Not at all. Does this speak to everyone in general? Certainly not. Is this an excuse for poor or irreverent behavior? No. Does this place any kind of blame on the people in question, the people around them or the society at large? No.

This is simply one set of environmental and societal criteria which may come into play as part of an overall issue a person, who is hypersensitive to the emotions and emotional states of others, might face. And certainly, when we say a part of it, there are more issues at hand than just this.

But there are many factors to consider when one does soul searching to discover why they feel the need to isolate themselves from the world, have such low self esteem as to believe themselves unworthy of love and/or success, and are so depressed they might possibly wish to end their lives. Society and environment are as much contributing factors as past traumas like abuse. So its important to be aware of them.

This holds true for not just Empaths and Highly Sensitive People (HSP), but for anyone. So consider it.


Saturday, May 8, 2010

Who Are You?

The Caterpillar and Alice looked at each other for some time in silence: at last the Caterpillar took the hookah out of its mouth, and addressed her in a languid, sleepy voice.

`Who are YOU?' said the Caterpillar.

This was not an encouraging opening for a conversation. Alice replied, rather shyly, `I--I hardly know, sir, just at present-- at least I know who I WAS when I got up this morning, but I think I must have been changed several times since then.'

`What do you mean by that?' said the Caterpillar sternly. `Explain yourself!'


`I can't explain MYSELF, I'm afraid, sir' said Alice, `because I'm not myself, you see.'

`I don't see,' said the Caterpillar.

`I'm afraid I can't put it more clearly,' Alice replied very politely, `for I can't understand it myself to begin with; and being so many different sizes in a day is very confusing.'

`It isn't,' said the Caterpillar.

`Well, perhaps you haven't found it so yet,' said Alice; `but when you have to turn into a chrysalis--you will some day, you know--and then after that into a butterfly, I should think you'll feel it a little queer, won't you?'

`Not a bit,' said the Caterpillar.

`Well, perhaps your feelings may be different,' said Alice; `all I know is, it would feel very queer to ME.'

`You!' said the Caterpillar contemptuously. `Who are YOU?'

~~ Excerpted from Alice In Wonderland






Who are you? It's the ultimate question, isn't it? We look around all of our lives for the answer. And sometimes we find bits and pieces of who we think we are here and there. And we have moments of "Ahh...that fits who I am perfectly!!".

Sometimes, though, we end up trying to mold ourselves to fit into a set of criteria laid out for us by someone else, be it a religion, a political party, a family, a community, a work place, or any other social strata that we wish to belong to or affiliate ourselves with. So we adopt a set of beliefs, ideals, morals, and so on to become part of that chosen 'group'.

More often than not when this occurs, it tends to have a domino effect. That is to say, one set of social beliefs begets another. One example would be that of being raised in a very religious home with more conservative views on the world. There is nothing wrong with this, mind you, so don't take offense to the example. But as a person grows older, after being raised in such a home, they will tend to orient themselves toward the things within their comfort zone. That would include people and social arenas that share similar beliefs and ideals.

Others might rebel against such an upbringing and choose to orient themselves around a different set of beliefs and ideals. Thus, in effect, choosing something closer to their own comfort zone which may differ from those they grew up with.

Neither of these situations is bad, in particular, and its common enough. The point here, though, isn't really about where you stand on beliefs, morals, or ideals. It's the fact that this is how we tend to define ourselves. That is to say, we choose out of numerous selections of various types to decide and define who we are. And then, somewhere within that blending, who we really are gets lost or covered over.

Why does it get covered over? Why does its very existence get denied? And does this really happen when people are SO sure they know exactly who they are? Interesting questions...let's look at them.

The reasons for covering over or denying who one truly is are to innumerable to account for. But if you break those reasons down, simplify them, what you come up with is this. People, when they compare who they really are with what is expected of them by those chosen social arenas, tend to find themselves lacking in some way, shape or form. So instead of dealing with those feelings, they bury those feelings and transform themselves into who they think they should be or who they think they are expected to be. Effectively, this is like putting on a mask to wear for the world.

It's all about belonging, you see. It's all about staving off the imagined loneliness that would accompany not belonging anywhere if who you were was truly discovered. And it's about being left in that loneliness, by yourself, to face all of the things about yourself that you hate. Because when you're among other people, you can wear the mask you have adorned so beautifully and not worry about or focus on anything that might dwell beneath it, such as the question of who you really are.

So in saying all of this, what is the point? How does this help answer the question of who we are? It doesn't really, because that's not a question I can really answer for you. But that wasn't even the point of this discussion anyway. The main point here is to perhaps point you in the right direction to discover it yourself, if you are so inclined to do it.

Titles

Titles, you've seen them and probably claimed them for yourself a few times. I am _______ (insert religion). I am ________ (insert political party). I am _________ (insert title). Generally a title is some kind of description of who you are, what you do, what position you hold, or something akin to those things. For the purposes of this discussion, we are going to focus on one particular title, though: Empath.

Let me show you how to define what an Empath is. First you look at a general definition and description:

Marked by an acute sensitivity to the feeling of others, Empaths can
actually feel another's pain and can heal it in some way. Since
Empaths pick up on the feelings of others, there is a great
understanding and ability to really "see" the other person. Others
tune into the Empaths energy and tend to gravitate towards them
knowing they are "safe" with this empathetic person.

Empaths can have a very expressive personality, are great listeners
and often seen counseling and not just in the professional area, they
will always find themselves helping others out and putting their own
needs aside to do so. Very often there can be a swing to the opposite
end of the spectrum being quiet with a need to withdraw from the
outside world to be alone and daydream. Empaths are passionate
towards nature, beauty, animals and children. Animals are especially
dear to the heart. There is often an attraction to a special kind of
animal but empathy towards all animals is a common characteristic.
Animals and young children are especially attracted and drawn to the
Empath's qualities. There tends to be an immediate connection of
sorts.

Empaths make great friends or lovers for life but are literally
crushed if the friendship or relationship is abused. They will
through many experiences and heartaches become more selective. Though
Empaths may have a large circle of friends, they generally only have
a few trusted ones. Oftentimes Empaths attract jealousy in others
because of their many talents, loving nature and natural ability to
get along with and network with so many people. The jealousy will
hurt an Empath as they really cannot comprehend this behavior, or
lack of compassionate understanding.

Empaths usually achieve in quiet and not one to brag about their
talents and interests. They will often promote the talents of others
before their own. Accepting compliments are not always easy. Empaths
are usually facially expressive as well expressive with their
emotions and feelings. Talking openly and honestly on all topics is
characteristic of an Empath. Because Empaths are frequently the
recipient of listening to others problems they often retreat into the
quiet of their minds eye. Oftentimes, the need to block out others is
great so that the energy balance is restored.

Empaths tend to be peacemakers, are non aggressive and non violent.
In fact, there is an acute sensitivity to violence of any kind on TV,
in films and especially in "real life" situations. Any infliction of
pain or violence to others, especially animals and children will
cause the Empath to feel physically ill and retreat. Oftentimes the
memories of those images will replay.
Then you look at what are considered Empath traits:
16 Common Traits Of An Empath

1. Empaths are quiet achievers but expressive in area's of emotional connection. They find that talking about emotional issues is a great outlet that aids in undertanding themselves and others.

2. Some empaths can be the opposite of what an empath 'should' be because they are overwhelmed or unable to handle emotion and what they feel in the world around them so they block their feelings.

3. They can be focused outward, toward what others feel, rather than themselves. This is a common trait to many people who have not gone through a process of self development.

4. They avoid disharmony caused by emotionally turbulent situations. This type of situation can easily create an uncomfortable feeling because an empath feels this emotion.

5. Empaths are emotionally sensitive to violence and general chaos.

6. Empaths are sensitive to loud noise and television. In particular, television programs that depict emotional drama like the news and police shows.

7. They struggle to comprehend acts of cruelty and crime that involves hurting others.

8. They struggle to comprehend suffering in the world and are often idealists who theorise about fixing the worlds problems.

9. Are often found working as volunteers, with people, animals or the environment.

10. They are expressive so they can often be found in areas of music or the arts.

11. They often have the ability to draw others to them. This includes children and animals as they have a warmth and compassion that is beyond normal You may find that strangers always talk to you if you are an empath.

12. They can be good listeners as they generally have an interest in other people.

13. Empaths can be moody or have large mood swings due to overwhelming thoughts, feelings and emotion.

14. They are likely to have had, other paranormal experiences in their life. This could be astral projection, psychic ability or a variety of other experiences.

15. Empaths are daydreamers that have difficulty keeping focused. This is common with people who deal more IN emotion and neglect other area's of their mind.

16. Like many people on a spiritual path Empaths frequently experience déjà vu and synchronicities. This is something that occurs to everyone however empaths are often more aware and therefore 'look out' for it.
And then you decide (choose) if you fit the criteria given above, to bear the mantle of the title Empath or not. It's up to you and your perception of yourself really. Someone else might say "This is what you are", but until you accept it as your own, its just another opinion in the wind.

Now here is the reason for introducing you to this. The point isn't whether you are or aren't an Empath. It's fine to be that, just as it's fine to be anything else. Being an Empath is a beautiful thing and can be a wonderful experience.

The real question is, is this all you are when you define yourself as an Empath? Or are you limiting yourself and your potential by saying "I am this and nothing more"? And these questions apply not just to the title of Empath, but to any title.

The question of "is this all you are" pervades all of the choices we make about ourselves when we choose where to belong, who to associate with, what titles to adorn ourselves with, what truths we claim as our own, how we shape our very personalities, and who we will choose to mold ourselves into in the future.

Is this, whatever it is, all that you are? Or are you something more? Think about it.

“The whole is more than the sum of its parts."
~~Aristotle



Saturday, May 1, 2010

The Nature & Perception Of Evil

I've spent some time considering what kind of topic I should write about after being away from Empathic Perspectives for a while. And a series of recent events has inspired this particular topic. Now you may or may not agree with what will be said here. Either way is fine, as we each have our own views on these subjects and this is merely offered up as food for thought. So if it gets you thinking, even if it gets you angry, disgusted, curious, or what have you, then its done its job. It's gotten you to think and its gotten you to react. So lets get started.

A Developmental Perspective Of Evil

If you've followed EP (Empathic Perspectives) and read some of my more personal blogs, you'll know that I was a victim of sexual abuse as a child. I won't detail it here, because it is only a point of reference to point toward how my perception of certain people was shaped later on in life and why.

As I grew up, because of these experiences as a young child, I had a number of issues that I had to wrestle with. I had an intense hatred for people like those that hurt me. I had a deep abiding shame within me, which left me feeling dirty and unclean which consequently lead me to suffer from low self esteem and depression. And ultimately, because of the latter of those issues, I fell into a pattern of self destruction with narcissistic manipulative men I dated who tended to abuse me.

When I came away from those relationships, I was broken internally. But now, tacked onto an intense hatred for sex offenders, I also had an deep abiding fear and anger toward certain kinds of men, even though I also wanted to be loved and appreciated at the same time. (Trust me, we are getting to a point here so bear with me a little while longer)

All of these life long experiences effectively twisted my perception of people causing me to see evil wherever I looked. It caused me to distrust people. And it eventually isolated me from those who cared about me. So I became a victim of my own misguided perceptions.

After being completely broken...quite literally shattered to bits, I was somehow able to slowly put myself back together again. And what I discovered was just how warped my perceptions had been. Because the evil I was seeing everywhere, well, it wasn't truly evil. It was....human.

Now understand, in saying that it is not truly evil, it does not justify any single person's actions that are wrong, cruel, horrific, or otherwise. It is to say, even those that raise a hand against another are nothing more than human beings.

But even at this point, my perceptions were still slightly bigoted, because I still could not look at a sex offender as human. It's ironic that I could look at a murderer and see a human being, even a sociopath, but not a pedophile. Because to touch a child in such a way....knowing how it made me suffer, I knew how it made others suffer as well, particularly those who were left alive to deal with the aftermath of that kind of suffering. Even now I want to cry for every child that goes through that.

But through a long series of events, over a number of years, my perception there even began to change. Having someone in my family who works with adolescent sex offenders, who was inspired enough by my story of suffering to put himself out there to work with these people in the hopes of keeping them from finding another victim....another me....made me stop and listen when he spoke to me.

He would tell me things (not their personal stories mind you, but general information) like alot of them had been abused themselves as smaller children. And that adolescent sex offenders had a higher chance of being rehabilitated than adult sex offenders.

At first, I would tell him..."I don't want to hear this because they are nothing but garbage", effectively distancing myself from the one place I did not want to go...into the minds of those I found abhorrent. Because being an Empath meant quite literally being in the minds of these people the closer I came to them. And the one thing I did not want to see and/or feel was the joy and pleasure they took in abusing others in such a way.

But slowly, very very slowly, I began to actually listen and more and more they became humans to me. People I could not deny despite their transgressions with lives full of suffering, violence, joy, and all of the other experiences human beings go through.

But in saying this, I must reiterate, it does not justify their actions, the suffering they brought to others, or the need for punishment. Even in seeing them as human beings, it did not mean it absolved them of their choices and actions, even if they had suffered much in their lives. And in my mind there was a distinction between the two now.

This is how my perception of evil developed. And this is where my abilities to forgive and let go were born. And it rose out of the empathy I developed as a child, when I became hypersensitive toward my abuser's needs and wants and ended with the acceptance of these kinds of people as human beings.

Recent Events

Recent Event 1
In recent events within my life, I received an email from a young man who asked me if there was hope for someone who was Empathic who had abused his gifts to the point of leaving a trail of blood in his wake. He said that most of my writing is oriented toward victims, and that is true.

And I have to say....yes, there is always hope. There is always forgiveness. Perhaps not from others who have been hurt, but at the very least forgiveness within yourself from you, so that you can let go of things that can not be changed and so you can move on...starting over again.

Despite being Empathic or not, and despite how righteous of a life we think we live, we are all guilty of hurting another to some degree at one time or another in our lives. To what degree varies from person to person, of course. But all of us are human and all of us make mistakes. Even I am guilty of this....many times over in my life time.

But I have learned something important along the journey of my life that can be quoted within a simple prayer, The Serenity Prayer. And even though I am not a Christian, this prayer holds great meaning for me.
God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;

courage to change the things I can;

and wisdom to know the difference.


Living one day at a time;

Enjoying one moment at a time;

Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;

Taking, as He did, this sinful world

as it is, not as I would have it;

Trusting that He will make all things right

if I surrender to His Will;

That I may be reasonably happy in this life

and supremely happy with Him

Forever in the next.

Amen.


--Reinhold Niebuhr

I accept the things I can not change in my life, in my past for instance ~ the pain I've wrought on others and the pain others wrought on me. And I have found the courage to change the things I can change over time, like learning to forgive and letting go of the things I've carried with me as burdens that bind me to the suffering of my past and the guilt I have worn as a mantle of my everlasting shame. And I have found within myself a wisdom I never realized I had, to know the difference between these things. And I live each day as though it were my last, full of hope, joy and feelings of blessings, despite how much I've suffered in my life....because despite all of that, this life I've been handed in such a wondrous and miraculous gift for which I treasure.

And I hope, not just the young man who emailed me, but all of you eventually find this within yourselves, as well. Because its truth, quite literally, has the power to set you free.

Recent Event 2
There was a person on a site which I frequent and occasionally work as a Chat Moderator on, Empath Community, who was causing issues within the sphere of the community. She was pointing random fingers out at people and proclaiming there was an evil presence within the community without naming names.

On the surface she had all the trademarks of what one would call a Messiah Complex or God Complex. She was judgmental, blindly saw evil everywhere, and believed she needed to protect the lost lambs (as she called them) of the Community from said evil presence within the community. But these issues were only on the surface.

But in truth, she and I are much alike in some aspects. Like me, because of my past experiences that warped my perception to see evil everywhere I turned, she found evil in places where there was none. And she believed with all of her heart that she needed to protect people from those things she deemed evil. And even though her words were saturated in judgment, I could find no fault with her intent or her personally, because her message was earnest and offered in compassionate love. I could only find fault with her approach, which as stated earlier, was full of righteous judgment which tended to lack an empathic understanding of the people she was interacting with.

So in my mind, she was where I once was within a developing perception where in right now she sees evil around every corner. But who is to say what that will transform into in the future, if she is given understanding....and empathy by those around her. Who are we to judge the progress of her own journey, despite how offensive it might be at this given moment, when we ourselves are in the process of developing our own perceptions just like her? Where is the understanding of her plight, when she is effectively forced out of a community of people who are in the process of developing just like her, despite her differences of opinion and her ways of expressing those opinions? Where is the empathy in that, I wonder? Where in lays the true evil in that situation, if there really was any on either part? I wonder.....

The Nature Of Evil

The nature of evil dwells within the perception of the human psyche. Is it the person that is truly evil or is it their choice/action/intent that is evil? Or is it both? My question to you is what brought you to the point where you decide what evil is or isn't, where you judge who and what is evil?

This is not about right or wrong, understand. This is about human perception, prejudice, and misconceptions of where to lay blame.

So the truest nature of evil, is not in the actions wrought against one another (though those are horrific in their own right). This, as ugly as it is, is human nature. Its true nature is apathy, when one person stops seeing another as a human being and can turn away from them, turn a blind eye to them as though they are subhuman, unacceptable, or garbage because of one thought, one action, or an intention to cause harm. It happens everyday as we go about our daily lives, and it happens to all of us, as those that hurt others and those that are hurt.

Evil dwells within the hearts of men and women alike, even those of Empaths, when empathy is stopped dead in its tracks, and apathy takes its place. Evil, as much as apathy is a choice. Think about it, even if you do not agree with it.