Tag Archives: Empathy

A Short Story About the Power of Understanding

When it comes to criticize and judge others, we are all experts. Without mercy we go through life like judges criticizing and condemning others, but what would happen if we could spend the same energy we spend on judging others, in trying to understand them? Could it be possible that our understanding could change the way we see others? What if we would have the chance to walk in someone else’s shoes?

 

 

"Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves." - Carl Jung

 

 

A few days ago, in one of those beautiful summer nights where the sky is clear and full of stars, and the temperature is pleasant, I was quietly sitting on an armchair in my balcony gazing at the stars. For some reason, every time I look at the sky I start to reflect about a certain topic, as if there were something up there, probably God, watching me and whispering something to me. In that night I started wondering about how much people tended to criticize others. I think because we can’t cope with our own life, we tend to focus on others rather than ourselves to feel less miserable.

While I was thinking about it I imagined how would it be to walk in someone else’s shoes. How would it be for one moment be in someone else’s skin and see life through that person’s eyes, and feel what that person feels. I was thinking that probably would increase our understanding for others, and we would become less judgmental. Our hearts would open, and we would change the way we treat others, becoming more understanding and compassionate, having more empathy and being less ruthless judges.

 

 

 

“Any fool can criticize, condemn, and complain but it takes character and self-control to be understanding and forgiving.” – Dale Carnegie

 

 

 

I always try to find examples that will help me clear my concerns. It is so that I imagined a little story about a man of about 30 years who used to criticize others constantly. It didn’t matter if you didn’t have reasons to criticize someone, this man always found a reason to criticize someone. Day and night, he was always criticizing and gossiping about other people, and no matter how annoying and despicable he was, he will always find followers who will applaud him.

One day, he went to a near shoe repair shop to collect one of the shoes he had left for repair. He entered into the shop, and suddenly a strong wind closed the door abruptly. He rang the bell, which was over the counter, to call the cobbler. No signs of him, he rang it one more time. He waited a few more minutes and decided to leave the store. He tried to open the door, but it was locked. “Maybe it was because of the wind” he thought. Tried a few more times without success.

“How will I get out? Maybe there is an alternative exit at the rear of the store” he thought. He went there to find a way to get out, and maybe he could also find the cobbler. As he was walking through the alley behind the counter the light slowly started to fade. Suddenly it was so dark he couldn’t see a thing. He was trying to find the light switch when something bright started shining. He went to see what it was, and he found four pair of shoes shining like stars.

He was amazed, he has never seen something like it. He took one of the shoes to see it closer, they were common shoes, but the light that shine through them with no apparently reason made them special. After seeing it carefully, he started using it as a lantern. He searched all around the place for the cobbler and the exit door. There were none of them. He searched every corner of that room, but there where no way out.

He decided to sit down and wait. “Maybe the cobbler went out to do something and he forgot to close the door, probably he will return soon” he thought. He waited half an hour, one hour, the cobbler never came. He was tired, hungry, and bored as hell. Where could he be? The man wondered. He took one of the shining shoes and tried it on, it was his size. He tried the other one. He stood up, and in that moment a miracle happened.

 

 

To be continued… 🙂 

Lack of Empathy: The Murderer of our Humanity?

Our lack of empathy, that is to say, our lack of ability to recognize and understand the feelings of another, is killing the humanity that is left in our society. Everything that is happening in the world just made me realize one thing: We have learned nothing.

 

"Could a greater miracle take place than for us to look through each other's eyes for an instant?" - Henry David Thoreau #empathy

 

Our own world has been the witness of our own destruction through the years. For years the human beings has been fighting for different reasons, most of them has been the cause of our own separation, where most of the time was generated through the efforts of those who govern us, who have always planted seeds of hate in human hearts, only to satisfy their own ambitious and selfish needs.

Through the years, all those people, the ones with the power, have taken the time to think the best way to control the whole world, and the best plan was launched: Separating people from each other by Nationality, Race, Gender and Religion and voilà! Here goes the most brilliant and evil plan of all times: People just hate and kill each other all by themselves. They took us our ability to think, and we became their slaves. Therefore, this caused one thing: hatred increased while love declined, which caused our lack of empathy, and the creators of such amazing plan? Well, they have always won the game.

 

 

 

“The secret of freedom lies in educating people, whereas the secret of tyranny is in keeping them ignorant.” – Maximilien Robespierre

 

 

 

So, what is empathy? The dictionary says that empathy is: The ability to understand and share the feelings of another. Therefore, how can our lack of empathy be the murderer of our humanity? Simple: if we can’t understand what someone else is feeling, if we can’t put ourselves in some else’s shoes or at least try to feel what that person is feeling, then there is no way we can feel the sadness and suffering from others, what will either cause our disinterest in the suffering of others, generating our inaction, or it will make us act in an evil way against others, being unable to understand and share their suffering.

Therefore, when we lack empathy, everything that makes us humans disappears, because where there is no love, hatred thrives, and it is in that moment when all the worst atrocities happen. We destroy our planet, our nature, we kill all animals, we poison every ocean, lake and river, we cut all our trees, and we hate and kill each other without mercy and compassion and everything thanks to our lack of empathy and lack of love.

 

 

 

“Hatred does not cease by hatred, but only by love; this is the eternal rule.” – Buddha

 

 

 

What is happening with the refugees is a clear example of our lack of empathy. In the last few days I read articles and comments from people from all countries around the world about immigration and refugees enough to make me sick. Our lack of empathy and our dehumanization is evident, there is no way we can hide the fact that we became so individualistic, that we don’t care anything about anyone except ourselves. The mere thought that someone with a different culture, religion or language will come to our little fantasy world were everything seems to be fine drives us crazy; taking out the worst in us, when it should be the other way around, since we do not own the world.

That’s why in the beginning I said that we have learned nothing. Why? Well, if we compare our past history and our present moment we can see that every death, every suffering, pain and fight from the past, and every human who have fought to restore the peace have taught us nothing, or in better words, we didn’t want to learn and so, we repeat those destructive behaviors from our past over and over again.

 

 

 

“Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” – George Santayana

 

 

 

I wonder if there is any way we can revert the destiny of our humanity. I dare to say – Yes, there is, and the cure to all evil is love. The seeds of hate have been planted thousands of years ago, but that doesn’t mean that love is already extinct, because love will never die, but we have to plant love once again, wherever we go, to everyone we can. Without love humanity cannot survive, and our existence will be condemned by our own actions.

We are all human beings, no matter our nationality, religion, language, race, or culture and that means we all have the same rights, where the right to live counts as the most fundamental of all, we are all the same and we are all one. Every person should be treated as a human, not matter where they come from. Everything that happens to another may someday happen to us.

 

 

 

Let’s restore our humanity, let’s recover our empathy, and with love and compassion let’s help other humans in need. We could be them, so let’s be kind and have respect, and in return we will have everything anyone can ask for: a world full of love and peace.