Good love is so hard to come by. Good love not in “codependence “ — not in sacrificing our sense of self or happiness, or dumping all of our emotional wellbeing into what our partner says or does. Good love not in grandiose displays of “love,” or carefully-measured markers like “marriage.” Good love not in forced, prescribed gestures of affection and reassurance. Good love not in jealousy or anxiety or attachment or demands.
If a person can’t get out of bed, something is making them exhausted. If a student isn’t writing papers, there’s some aspect of the assignment that they can’t do without help. If an employee misses deadlines constantly, something is making organization and deadline-meeting difficult. Even if a person is actively choosing to self-sabotage, there’s a reason for it — some fear they’re working through, some need not being met, a lack of self-esteem being expressed.
When you’re paralyzed with fear of failure, or you don’t even know how to begin a massive, complicated undertaking, it’s damn hard to get shit done. It has nothing to do with desire, motivation, or moral upstandingness. Procastinators can will themselves to work for hours; they can sit in front of a blank word document, doing nothing else, and torture themselves; they can pile on the guilt again and again — none of it makes initiating the task any easier. In fact, their desire to get the damn thing done may worsen their stress and make starting the task harder.
If a person’s behavior doesn’t make sense to you, it is because you are missing a part of their context. It’s that simple. I’m so grateful to Kim and their writing for making me aware of this fact. No psychology class, at any level, taught me that. But now that it is a lens that I have, I find myself applying it to all kinds of behaviors that are mistaken for signs of moral failure — and I’ve yet to find one that can’t be explained and empathized with.
It’s worth noting — some of the most prolific technologies on the market today started because of assistive technology tools: voice-to-text, ATMs, your Google Home, even your Kindle, all came about because of innovations in assistive technologies.