“From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs.”
– Karl Marx (German philosopher and economist of the 19th century, considered as one of the most influential figures in human history)
Mr. Sanjay was in pain, and so was I. He babbled on. The past abuse and trauma haunted him even years later. I tried my best to understand him but failed because he spoke too many things, and extremely fast. His words meant nothing to me; I saw his heart bled profusely.
I decided to give empathy silently. However, soon, my head threatened to explode; I couldn’t take the intense emotions he felt for his family, enemies, and colleagues; he had no friends, and he wouldn’t stop speaking to me.
But my heart ached too. I had hectic schedules for the past three weeks and badly needed a break; I felt starved of care and empathy myself. I knew a hungry man couldn’t feed others for long. At the same time, I didn’t have the heart to interrupt him. I knew I’d freak-out if I heard him anymore; I had to either run away or tolerate happily. Caught in a quandary, I silently prayed for help.
Do you feel a victim even as you try to help others? Sometimes people download their worries on you, and despite your sincere desire to serve them, they seem not to get the benefit. On the contrary, it seems to backfire – they treat you as a garbage can and feel offended if you don’t hear them out. You get caught in a vicious cycle – your genuine service, instead of nourishing you, leaves you exhausted. And if you avoid the person, he could take you on a guilt trip- ‘I trusted you to help me’ or ‘I see you have other priorities.’
To be continued…