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About jonbirch

animator, illustrator, character designer, graphic designer. music producer/recording musician. co-owner of PROOST. proost.co.uk
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17 Responses to 935

  1. Stumpy says:

    The Human condition……

  2. Pat says:

    Does ‘happy’ have any meaningful content if we have never experienced sadness?

  3. Stumpy says:

    ah, but if there was no cause for the need of sadness, what then?

  4. Jael says:

    Thank you Thank you Thank you!!! I SO needed this right now. I’m gonna print it off and tattoo it on my life.

  5. naomi says:

    this is so simple but so powerful and so true to…well, everyone.

  6. sarahboo says:

    In the long run, there can be no real joy for anybody until there is joy finally for us all (Frederick Buechner)

  7. Nick says:

    It’s a bit off topic but can I say that for me your cartoons have recently been of top notch quality!

  8. Nick says:

    (not that they were crap or anything before… just so you know)

  9. subo says:


  10. JF says:

    This had the effect of making me look up whether there is a Wikipedia entry on “self-pity”.

    There is.

  11. jonbirch says:

    jf… :-) … empathy not a forte, then?

  12. jonbirch says:

    thank you, nick. very kind. :-)

  13. JF says:

    Honestly, I think my ability to empathise with others is OK, but I do acknowledge that my empathy tends to wane as time goes on. When it feels as though empathy is turning to indulgence, I find myself unable to sustain it.

    I loved this part of that wiki page: “Self-pity may be considered normal, and in certain circumstances healthy, so long as it is transitory and leads to either acceptance or a determination to change the situation.”

    Sounds like: “Doctor, I feel like a pair of curtains!”, but I think it’s a truism that “God helps those who help themselves”. To me, this means that if you are seen to be trying to change your circumstances for the better, others will join and support you. If you are simply staying put and continuing to bemoan your circumstances, people will (eventually) look the other way. It’s easy to see how this leads to further isolation and a deepening of the original problem.

    Like everyone else, I carry sadness with me. Luckily I am fairly good at changing some situations and accepting others but, more importantly, judging what I can change and what I have to accept (it’s the serenity prayer, I guess). I think I am fortunate enough to have learned over time to have some of that serenity (in this regard at least).

  14. jonbirch says:

    yeh. acknowledge the sadness. god helps those who help themselves. all those things i can go with.
    i guess for many, and this is ‘off cartoon’ for a moment… when there is genuine depression or physical chemical imbalance in the brain these ‘normal’ modes of operation can become very hard and for some impossible. i’d hate to think we’d turn our backs because someone wasn’t coping like we thought they should. we’ve all had times when we weren’t coping, it’s just for some it’s more difficult than that. i think it might be the only reason people end up on the streets.
    anyway, back ‘on cartoon’… the serenity prayer is indeed a good model.

  15. Forrest says:

    As a person with a couple chronic pain illnesses I have way too much intimate understanding of this one.
    Way too much!

  16. jonbirch says:

    carole… thank you.

    forrest… that is hard.

    jf… strikes me that this cartoon has nothing at all to do with self-pity and everything to do with a grown up acceptance that you can’t make other peoples problems, or often your own, go away. i have a few friends right at this moment, who if i could make their pain or burdens go away, i would. but i can’t.

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