I am constantly conflicted between being sympathetic and giving tough love. I wonder how I will ever be a good parent, if I cannot learn this tough love bit. It doesn't take much for me to melt and give in to my five year old niece while my sis and b-i-l behave like horrible cold stones. Hopefully I will get better when its a kid of my own that I would not want to turn into a brat.
People suffer all kinds of unthinkable tragedies in life. Things like the loss of a parent at an early formative age- shoes that you don't even dare step into for the sake of better understanding- it only tells you how much for granted you have taken some things in life. But then, how long can a person continue to blame such life-altering tragedies for everything? How long do you let one flounder aimlessly, live in his own bitter world, blaming every one for his situation, and when do you ask him to snap out of it? No one can ever get over such tragedies, but people have to move on, gain a sense of self and take responsibility for their own lives. No? What do you do when they don't, and get stuck in the rut of inertia and lethargy and just about manage to stay afloat in their self-pity pool?
I am beginning to think that some amount of bluntness is required, but I feel much too privileged to be able to say "Look, I know this all must be tough on you, but you need to take responsibility for your life" - because I don't really know how tough it is for them, do I? But I do very well know that they need to move past it and end the blame-the-world-for-my-sorry-state cycle- for their own sake. At some point, the fragility and the sadness and the inertia are all mixed up and its hard to separate one from another. And I suspect that it is this very conflict that allows such a situation to go on for years on end. But how long do you keep hoping for the person to learn from his failings, and when do you tell him outright?