To Despise or Pity?

I tend to get on with everybody I meet, but I’ve had a lot of trouble with somebody recently. Not only do they have a lot of habits which are very annoying, but they are always very rude to me, very rude to my friends and just generally somebody who is very unethical and ignorant of other’s feelings. They’re just about the worst possible combination of ignorant, arrogant, unintelligent and selfish.

Essentially, everybody I know who knows this person can’t stand them – and understandably so; if somebody causes so much stress for you, you’ve no reason to like them. But the thing is, while everybody holds a negative opinion of this person, he doesn’t seem to particularly dislike anybody; in fact there are a lot of cases where they actually seem to like people more than they like them. With this in mind, I can’t help but wonder: are they somebody to be despised or pitied?

If somebody is doing loads of thoughtless and immoral things without the slightest idea that what they’re doing is wrong, don’t you have to feel sorry for them? They think that they’re an amazing person, that everybody loves them and that they do a lot of good, when in reality all of those things are the opposite of true. It’s a subject I grapple with a lot.

Isn’t the thought of that person finding out and then being utterly heartbroken something that’s really upsetting? To me it is, at least. And that’s what I struggle with: it’s hard to be too negative towards this feelings, because its hard for me not to view many of these flaws (especially things like arrogance) as manifestations of insecurity and ignorance, rather than malice.

Perhaps I’m wrong and they know how much trouble they cause everybody and they just don’t care. Maybe they even intentionally say or do things to make people feel like I do, so that they’re less likely to oppose them – an arch manipulator. But it’s so hard to tell and it creates a sad mixture of anger and guilt. I don’t really like to feel negative emotions towards a person, because I think when somebody holds negative emotions, it will always end up harming them.

(Don’t miss today’s Finger Puppet Show!)

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