Sta Hungry Stay Foolish

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

A blog by Leon Oudejans

Achilles heel

28 March 2016


Some days ago, a friend asked me to look for the common characteristics in my failed relationships. What did these women have in common? I have already thought about this question for quite some time and the answer is surprisingly simple: I am the common denominator.

Of course there are common features between the women in my failed relationships. Yet even those features ultimately point to me. It is far too easy for me to ignore myself as I am the main – and constant – variable in this equation. And after having realised that, the answer actually became surprisingly simple.

In my weekly newsletter from The Atlantic, I noticed a video by Paul Bloom, a psychologist and a Yale professor, who “argues that empathy is a bad thing—that it makes the world worse. While we’ve been taught that putting yourself in another’s shoes cultivates compassion, it actually blinds you to the long-term consequences of your actions“. Note: bold and italic markings are mine.

For some time, I have realised that my compassion is not only a strength but also my Achilles’ heel. Wikipedia: “An Achilles heel is a weakness in spite of overall strength, which can actually or potentially lead to downfall. While the mythological origin refers to a physical vulnerability, idiomatic references to other attributes or qualities that can lead to downfall are common”.

My eagerness to care for people has created situations in which I was way over my head.

Could it really be that the solution is to care less, to be more selfish, and to stop thinking that I can help others in their healing?? I am considering this solution now. It will not be an easy one to implement as it contradicts my personality. Nevertheless, I must guard myself.

My ratio is slowly taking over from my emotions again. I am recognising the various subconscious warning signals that were earlier blocked by my emotions. With hindsight, these signals all proved to be relevant and foretelling.

I have always been proud of my EQ and IQ but now I am much less sure as clearly my EQ was able to block my IQ. That needs to change for my own long-term benefit. I am contemplating how to achieve that goal. Currently, I still feel like an angry, wounded lion licking his wounds. I survived once again, like a cat with 9 lives but minus 1.

I never saw this ambush coming as my compassion overruled my subconscious. I am mostly angry with myself: Why didn’t I see it coming? Why another failure? Why me? I know the answer but it’s hard to accept: My eagerness to find a new companion in life. That’s a harsh lesson learned.

Kings of Leon – Use Somebody (2008) – artists, lyrics, Wiki-1, Wiki-2

I’ve been roaming around

Always looking down at all I see

Painted faces, fill the places I can’t reach

You know that I could use somebody

You know that I could use somebody

Someone like you, and all you know, and how you speak


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