Empathy is of course the idea that you can put yourself in someone else shoes, or see from their perspective or experience. A very important skill that is important for all stages of life. It combats bullying, loneliness, increases community, depression wins friends, decreases prejudice, racism and inequality. In a time when religiosity and spirituality have taken hits often replaced by Facebook, Twitter and their narcissistic crew empathy can be a force of good for all. In our society that’s ever more divided between rich/poor, progressive/conservative, east/west, nintendo vs playstation we need empathy to bring insight, understanding and dialogue. Can you imagine if our politicians practiced true empathy...good things my friends.
The two pillars of my moral and spiritual life have much to say on the topic. Jesus famously called for us to love our neighbors as ourselves. Gautama Buddha’s probably less well known saying has powerful insights. “Resolve to be tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant with the weak and wrong. Sometime in your life, you will have been all of these.”
You and I can begin today. Actively try to imagine what others are feeling/thinking. Meditate. Read fiction and identify with the characters. Have a chat with someone with different views and sincerely listen. Next time someone pushes your buttons rather than react be proactive and push pause, breathe and see the situation from their perspective. Seriously what’s the downside? To get you started watch the fabulous empathy inspiring video below. (o: