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Being on the receiving end of Pity

https://www.theschooloflife.com/thebookoflife/coping-with-being-pitied/

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Being on the receiving end of Pity
Being on the receiving end of Pity - Articles from The School of Life, formally The Book of Life, a gathering of the best ideas around wisdom and emotional intelligence.

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Bestowing pity

Bestowing pity

Pity is an especially problematic and painful treatment, although it might seem very close to kindness. When someone hears of a problem we have, they may ask us with concern how we are doing; they will inquire if they can get us anything at all; they will say they imagine how awful things are.

To be pitied is to be placed in a category of loneliness and freakishness at the very moment when we really long for solace and confirmation of being human.

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Why pity alienates

The pitying person knows how desperate our situation is, but then use their energy to make it clear that our sorrow is ours alone and that any similar horror could not ever touch them.

They need to create a wall between our condition and theirs. Their intentions are sweet, but they will not recognise that they are as open to madness, foolishness, accident, and suffering as we are.

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Pity and sympathy are different things

Both the pity-bearing and sympathetic person will recognize our troubles; they both may say 'poor you.' But the pity bearing person does something cruel by implying that the mess we're in is only ours. They must remind us of the distinctiveness of our situation and keep us at arm's length.

The consoling friend is mature enough to know that everything we are suffering from could touch them one day too. This emotional background will lend sincerity to their words of consolation.

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