Non-constructive Sympathy

Help one-another to grow

Wednesday, May 10, 2023.

One of the habits that I acquired while in high school is learning to sympathize with our misdoings and errors and then doing nothing about them.

Sympathy is a positive feeling to have especially among your friends but if you commit an error and you don't work on doing fewer errors, something is wrong right?

It's something I did in high school over and over again with my company. It's not like I couldn't help myself but I was explicitly not working on improving myself regularly — something I regret.

Fast-forward a few months since I graduated, I realise I am not the only one out of my school that seems to have this habit or to have gone through this. I have friends that seem to sympathize over their errors and complain often but don't do anything to improve. I realised this has been happening for a long time now on my way home yesterday as I was running through the activities I did.

It usually follows the structure Friend 1: "I didn't do X and I feel bad about it"

Friend 2: "At least you did W, insert worst situation" (to make Friend 1 feel less shitty)

Friend 1: feels less bad about their mistake


moves on without really improving or getting help

I don't know where all of this started from but I think breaking from this is going to be a slow process involving awareness and more helping one another.

And I've to begin by unlearning this behaviour.

"And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye?" (Mathew 7:3)


From my friends Grace Babila:

"It's true we give and excuse to why doing X is a consolation for not doing Y. I think it starts from home, where we are often than not corrected for the things we omitted. As a way of consoling ourselves we look at the bright side ie the things we did correctly and we forget about why we were corrected and the lesson it was supposed to teach us.

I suggest from now henceforth, incomplete work should equal work not done. We should be self disciplined and put ourselves up for punishment everytime we don't respect the All and Nothing rule."

Reply "I agree! You either do it well or you didn't. I would add that this attitude could come up because of praise from other friends. For example, "I didn't do my assignment" -> "Look at the bright side, you took first position last term" and then you feel comfortable. In short, sometimes it's reliance on past success."