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Empathy

What is empathy?

Empathy is the experience of understanding another person's condition from their perspective. You place yourself in their shoes and feel what they are feeling. That's the common definition of empathy.

What I believe empathy is the ability to feel and know what the other person is feeling and them doing the right thing to help them. (And sometimes not doing the right thing to help them) It’s the ability to step into the shoes of another person, aiming to understand their feelings and perspectives, and to use that understanding to guide our actions. That makes it different from kindness or pity.

I call him religious who understands the suffering of others.” -Mahatma Gandhi

My vision is to see the world where people feel more empathy towards each other. And I am not just talking towards other humans, but also towards animals, the environment and maybe even aliens from outer space. I BELIEVE that if people become more empathique, then the world will be a lot better place.

Take for example bullying. You hear about bullying and its effects of people and children in schools and at work everyday. You hear about campaigns and charities that want to fight bullying and to reduce it. And yet it continues and persists.

Before I continue let me just briefly explain why people bully each other. I can say this because I used to be on both ends of bullying. People usually bully others because they are frustrated with their lives, they are miserable and want to make others miserable, they want to show off that they are not weak, to protect themselves, some bully because it just makes them feel good. And maybe the main reason is because most of them can get away with it. But do the people who bully others actually realise what they really are doing. Maybe you think that the kids might not, but what about the adults who do it in their workplace, they must know right! What I think is that they all know what they are doing (Including the kids), but just do not really realise what are its consequences and how it can affect people.

This is where empathy comes in, if these people used their empathy (and most people have empathy in them, and not just people animals like elephants also have empathy, its just that they don’t use it) to try to feel what that other person is feeling, what IT feel like to be bullied, then they might know what they are doing is wrong, that just to make themselves feel better they might be potentially fucking up somebody else’s life and future, that just because they can get away with it that they have to or can make other’s lives a hell. If they empathized more with others, then they might realise that the more they bully others, the more miserable they are going to be. That the world doesn’t revolve just around you! That just because they can do something, they should do it.

If instead we tried to make people more emphatique towards each other, and I am just not talking about your neighbour, classmate, or friend, and towards all the living things on the planet including plants and animals, then a lot of the problems and sufferings in the world would be reduced. Thing like Bullying, wars and racism. The environment would be better and this would make the Earth a more beautiful and better place.

There are already some charities that aim to develop empathy in children like the roots of empathy program. Students in classes taught with Roots of Empathy engage in markedly less bullying and less social exclusion (the most stressful experiences for children) and learn to manage their emotions and peer interactions more successfully.

Democracies need citizens who can empathize and identify with others, recognize problems, and collaborate in building solutions. They need citizens who are prepared to take the lead in bringing change when necessary. I believe these goals should be integrated into education beginning in grade school and should not be something that most people learn later in life. Yes, there are charities for this, but I believe that charities alone are not enough.

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