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Empathy

I am always amazed by the lack of empathy I see around me. It seems so easy for people to lose sight of what others are going through. We are so quick to judge, so quick to condemn, so quick to assume. The most fascinating part of this for me is that the same people who sometimes lack empathy in one situation can suddenly turn around and have empathy for another. This shows me two things: people are more likely to be empathetic in situations they relate to and empathy is a possibility for everyone. We just need to think. Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird said it best, “You shouldn’t judge a person until you take a minute to walk around in his shoes.” As an Empath I have little choice. To my own chagrin and often complete frustration, I am always walking in others shoes. This does not mean that I don’t judge, assume,or condemn. I am still very human, but as soon as I fall into the trap of stroking my own ego with the criticisms of others, my empathy kicks in and so does the realization that my understanding and compassion are always a choice.
I challenge you to think about that person or situation that you condemn that you criticize. Put yourself in that persons situation fully, not what YOU would do or think, try to understand the situation from that person’s perspective and eyes. You will know you are on the right track because you will have an “oh” moment. Don’t fear the guilt that may accompany this. It won’t kill you to feel momentary shame. It might remind you the next time. Empathy can become a reflex like those negative reflexes that seem so much more natural. Empathy is not a weaknesses. It’s a strength. It may also be the only way we can help each other with the weight of this world.

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