We’re all familiar with the uncomfortable feeling that arises when you’re in a social situation and a Negative Nellie is openly bashing someone else. You may or may not know the person being bashed, but either way…it’s weird. Those of us who are highly compassionate tend to be hyper-aware of our surroundings and the feelings of others. You could say that empathy is our special nerdy super power.
With great empathy comes great responsibility.
In a society that has trained us to constantly judge other people, we end up being thrown for a loop when in the presence of a Negative Nellie. In our minds, we think: “well, hypothetical Bob is talking shit about hypothetical Miranda. I don’t even know Miranda, but he’s being mean. If I speak up, Bob won’t like me. If I don’t speak up, I’ll feel uncomfortable and Bob will never know that I’m not down with shit-talking.” We’re so afraid! So as Bob continues to talk smack about Miranda, we feel that uncomfortable knot growing bigger and bigger as long as we keep our mouths shut.