We are much more likely to show empathy to people who are not regularly in our life.
That’s because our partners, colleagues, bosses, friends, acquaintances, parents, kids at some point become characters in the stories we build. Stories that have two interesting attributes.
First, they are unnecessarily brutal in representing our situation. We make our stories worst than the reality is, partly because we need to motivate our ambition, partly to excuse our feelings, partly as a byproduct of the laziness of our brain. What is negative sticks, and so we are never happy, never achieved, never quite there yet.
Second, they establish an escape to our responsibilities by assigning over proportioned weight to the context in which we live. A huge part of this context are the people with whom we spend most of our time. And so, our negative status is often because of what others do, how they treat us, the opportunities they miss to recognize us, the time they suck out of our days. Why should we show empathy to those who are keeping us down? To those who always have it their way?
Stories are brutal, and they solidify over time.
Yet, they are still stories. And as such, it is in our power to change them when we realize they are roadblocks on our path.