I’d been doing some job searching as of late. You’re most likely thinking I’m crazy for even thinking of getting a job when I have a newborn at home, but that’s just me. As you all know, interviews are stressful and a real burden. Yo just never know what kind of questions you’ll be asked by interviewers. There are those simple and typical questions like ‘Tell me about yourself,’ and ‘Where do you see yourself in 10 years?’ And then there are the dumb questions you don’t know how to answer without cringing such as, ‘If you could be any animal, what would it be?’
I always found job interviews draining because there’s never a right or wrong answer to an interviewer’s question. Whether your answer is right or wrong is dependent on the interviewer themselves and whether or not you seem likeable to them. It’s just the same as art. It’s nothing personal, but rather a matter of perspective. In fact, I think job interviews ARE art. A job interview isn’t a math equation. A recruiter listens to your answers and analyzes them just as you’d analyze a piece of art, if not even into further detail.
You can’t blame everything on a recruiter, though. The questions a recruiter may ask you isn’t necessarily up to the recruiter. There was one interview, however, that really took me by surprise. The recruiter asked me, ‘What is the difference between showing someone sympathy and showing someone empathy. It was the first time in my history of job searching that I actually had to think about my answer. Luckily for me, I’ve had a ton of experience in my lifetime when it comes to outsiders showing me more sympathy than they ever did empathy, so I felt confident about my answer.
EMPATHY is when you know someone is different than you are, but you still treat them just the same as anyone else
SYMPATHY is when you know someone is different than you are, and you act as though you’re their saving grace.
I recently attended a birthday party where I saw a former friend that I used to be close with. I was friends with her during the worst years of my life. She only knew that version of me. I feel that when you’re struggling with a chronic illness and it’s not treated properly, the illness takes over your whole life and you become a very different person. That’s exactly what happened to me. When we were friends, she told my husband that I was delicate. I’m actually not, but back when my life was taken over my epilepsy, I most likely was. She doesn’t know the real me. Instead, she only knows the ill version of me. That’s a version of me that I just want to forget.
That former friend and I had a falling out years ago, but I actually had issues with her that I’d never tolerate under normal circumstances. In fact, I would’ve never even began a friendship with her if I weren’t so sick when I met her. It’s not like I regret being friends with her, but I also would’ve thought 5 times before I ever even had a conversation with her if I were healthy when I met her. Throughout our entire friendship, she had too much to say about how I should live my life with epilepsy and cerebral palsy. She also had too much to say about my marriage. Not to mention that she completely invaded my privacy too many times for me to even count. And yes, I know I have this blog and social media where I post about my life. But for one, it was before the blog, and two, it’s still MY and MY decision only what I share and who I share it with when I meet someone new.
I’m a very forgiving person as a whole. But I never forget how people treat me. When it comes to people in my life , my new motto is to forgive and move on, and that’s what I did. My former friend crossed too many boundaries and was in the way of my health. Therefore, I had no choice but to let her go. She got mad because my husband and I made things ‘weird’ for her during a birthday celebration when I was about to have a grand mal seizure at a restaurant and my husband attempted to keep me safe while I couldn’t breathe and felt that I was choking. She stopped talking to me, and all I could do was laugh. Our mutual friend saw it as a misunderstanding, but it for me was way more than that.
I went two years without seeing her until the birthday of our mutual friend. It seemed to me that the former friend wanted to reconnect our mutual friend was making the first step to make it happen once I came through the door. I immediately brushed it off and moved on to meet and greet the other attendees. She congratulated me and my husband on the birth of our son. My husband was polite and thanked her, but I said absolutely nothing. It’s not like I still care about everything that had happened. It’s rather that I didn’t care enough to play pretend and act like we were friends and nothing had happened. I didn’t even want to give her an opportunity to say anything or comment on anything, because I knew that if I did say anything, she would’ve.
As I sat across from her throughout the entire evening, I realized something about her. She was the perfect example of someone who was sympathetic towards me. Our entire friendship could be defined by the word. Not only that, but she was in the way of my health. That was when I said, ‘NO MORE!’ Now, I take it all with me. If I see the slightest bit of sympathy coming towards me from anyone, I don’t waste any time and immediately distance myself from them. All I want from anyone in my life is to show empathy. It’s ok for them to know that I have cerebral palsy, epilepsy, that I survived a car accident and so on. But I still expect them to treat me as an equal. I’m just like any other person after all.
Life is long. But it’s also short at the same time. Why spend any time and give yourself to someone who treats less than what you deserve?