Empathy on Steroids (not the drug)

I’ve been thinking for a long time about how to put this into words, and it hasn’t been easy. Heck, I’m not even sure the following words will be the best way to explain it. Even so, they’re the only words I have right now, and I hope you’ll be able to understand all the same.

Maybe you remember that time in your childhood when you knew for certain that something you’d done or said was wrong. I’m talking about the immediate feeling afterwards that comes from observing the effect, such as seeing the other kid look sad or start crying. It’s the feeling that tells you that you messed up, and that it wasn’t right that something you did hurt the other person. For me, it’s always felt like a pit that opens in my chest, somewhere above my stomach. It appears instantly, and depending on the situation, the hole may or may not close. It’s the feeling that compels you to apologize, to try making up for what you did. It’s a learning moment, one in which we begin to understand what empathy is.

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Why My Brain Sucks 2

I spent today trying to convince myself that it was going to be a good day. I had at least gotten my class reading done for today, even though I had totally forgotten about the minor group speech in class. I don’t know how my introduction managed to “blow away” our professor, but I’ll take it. I wasn’t in the mood to do much of anything today, much less talk to other people and present. I know that may sound antisocial, but such is the nonsense of an addled mind—I can be peppy and talkative one day, and run on autopilot anywhere from minutes to hours to a day later.

I asked for an egg and cheese omelette and got mac-n-cheese, instead. Normally this wouldn’t bother people, but for some reason today this had a profound effect. All I could keep thinking were things like: You should have just gone next door for a burger. No, you’ve been eating too many of those; the sandwich stand is healthier. You could have even just asked for the basic pasta+sauce combo and avoided the trouble. It seemed like just another notch in a day I couldn’t put faith into being a good one.

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Why My Brain Sucks

I feel it—the need to complete my work, borne of knowledge and routine. As a college student, this acts as a clock that is always ticking. I know it well, have improved its parts over several years, and since I had to start on an academic schedule that was virtually my own I have felt something else

Procrastination—the desire to do anything but what I am supposed to be doing. At first, I thought it was just a matter of being lazy, of having to get over myself and “hop to it.” I internalized that if I got something done I would feel more motivated to do other things, and that works sometimes. However, it doesn’t work all the time.

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