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In trying to understand empathy, I have found some interesting and insightful media meant to describe it. Truly, to me, empathy is not definable in black and white terms by virtue of its very nature. The empathy we feel towards another changes when that person is right in front of us. What about when that person is halfway around the world? Can we understand the horror of a child kidnapped if it is not in our own backyard? Do we turn away because the news is frightening rather than stand up and fight for the rights of that family to find their child at any cost? Can we feel the desperation and terror of their anguish?

For me, being empathetic takes energy; it absorbs some of another person’s pain. It is turning experience into awareness and action to ease or aid someone else’s struggle. It is not easy to stand in the shadow of the disenfranchised but it is an injustice not to.

We humans are so fragile, and on the surface, we show our bravado, our distance and attempts to control situations to benefit ourselves and advantage. We lose touch with the reality that everyone we meet is fighting some sort of a battle. If we know, can we help? If we did, would we?

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Thank you for stopping by and I would love to hear what you think empathy is or is not. Please share your ideas, quotes and media. We are all in this together.

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4 Comments

  1. It does take energy to allow someone else’s problem or misfortune to become our own. It can be all consuming sometimes. But it is part of being a good friend or in the case of a stranger, being human.

  2. I think that sometimes we need to turn away from things in order to preserve our own mind and sanity. This world just makes me cry.

  3. Suz, I agree that the constant stream of negativity and cruel events is frightening. So much of the reporting is so bad that the nightly news is a cause of alarm on the nervous system and the great anxiety so many feel. However, the international kidnappings of children as tools of terror and in the name of religion and political progress shows how far we are away from respect for human life. We know that it is wrong and yet are helpless to rescue these and many other children in danger.


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