Do you find it easier to empathize with happiness or sorrow?
Maybe it seems twisted, and I haven’t done a scientific study on it or anything, but I’m pretty sure that I have a much easier time “feeling with” loss based emotions. It only seems to take a few symbols – be they words or images or music – and I’m right there suffering with. Yet it seems to require fairly well fleshed out story to manufacture the ecstatic feeling of enjoying with. And usually any hint of triteness, the slightest flavor of deliberate manipulation, and I’m suddenly observing it through fission reactor viewport glass.
“…though the sea with waves continuall
Doe eate the earth, it is no more at all ;
Ne is the earth the lesse, or loseth ought :
For whatsoever from one place doth fall
Is with the tyde unto another brought :
For there is nothing lost, that may be found if sought.”
― Edmund Spenser
Yet I find myself forever sorrowing with others and much less often able to enjoy their triumphs and happiness as my own. I am utterly aware of flow and change, yet it appears that I’m addicted to loss and hardly notice gain.
Have you ever noticed how romantic losing is?
Have you noticed that stories and movies spend a lot more time on the suck of life than on the glory? Oh, we love to see triumph, but do you notice that 90% of a movie is the protagonist face planting over and over just so that we can accept a mild triumph at the end? And in that structure, only failure leads to more living and learning, triumph is rewarded by a fade to black and credits rolling. Do I believe that happiness should be timeless, that nothing should follow happiness? Do avoid it because I’d rather live on feeling sorrow than go to credits because I finally succeeded?
To be clear, I don’t think I’m miserable. I love my life! Sadness MUST exist for happiness to be sweet! But why is it so much more difficult to believe in the happiness of another than to feel their loss?
Do you find it easier to empathize with sorrow than believe in happiness at all?
I do. And I want that to change.