I’m reminded during times of emergency of my stoicism. I see, all too often, the troubles of others when they try to react when the stakes demand it. Many with empathy seize up, overtaken by the gravity of the situation and their empathy for those in trouble. It either takes conditioning or a lack of empathy to be good at handling crises, though. I remember when my mother had to be sent to the hospital last summer. My brother, who is highly empathic, could not muster more than a warbling of words while time was of the essence. However, crisis also teaches me something about myself. I am reminded of my humanity. While my actions may be selfish and rarely rooted in compassion, I can still choose to help or hinder. More often than not, I choose to help.
I bring all of this up because I am fascinated by those times that I push past those limits that I think I adhere to. A recent emergency tested my ability to be a friend. I don’t toss the word around lightly; I believe we call too many people friends. However, a friend needed me and I did all and then some that I could to help out. I was pushed out of my comfort zone. While emotional attachment never came into play, I found that I could be a good friend without that quality. And, the idea that one can be a good friend without being emotionally invested is a new realization that will take a while to process. I guess I had always assumed that friendship required more than I could give. However, it is not the qualitative measures of friendships that matter in most cases, it is the quantitative aspects and efforts that keep most friends together. Does it really matter if another cannot feel your pain if they are truly there when needed? The answer – I am realizing – is ‘no.’
I don’t mean this as a ‘look at me’ post. I wish a speedy recovery for my friend and the best to them in the future. I am trying to convey the importance of action rather than feeling when it comes to defining interpersonal relationships. I hold higher hopes for my current and future interpersonal relationships knowing that I can act as a trusted and cherished friend or paramour knowing that I can give all and then some. I just can’t give my heart.