Developing empathy, the mother of all positive emotionsEmpathy is the ability to see problems of any other person or any group of people, by placing ourselves in their shoes and seeing/sensing the problem, as if it were our own problem.
Easier said than done. Extremely difficult to practice.
Yes, it indeed is.
However, if the world were to be a far better place to live in, if we need to understand that the world is far more complex than what it was some years ago, or even some couple of decades ago, we would not be even thinking about empathy.
For instance, the hundreds of thousands of rupees spent on Modi's trip to any country to interact with both Pakistan and China would pale into insignificance, when compared to that of a war. This is so because China is now in a position to even determine the future of economic affairs of nations and has a huge market and influence in the world. So, we develop empathy with whatever our Government does, in terms of foreign policy, in terms of doing away with terrorism in our own soil. That we have had some peace in Kashmir is part of this empathy.
Cut to mundane things around us. For instance, we have millions suffering from terminal cancer, and everyone knows that they would die anyway. Certain voluntary organizations have entered the fray and are doing solid and superb work, born out of huge empathy.
And so, we have many people donating for such noble causes.
One of the main steps in developing empathy, is to have a huge peace of mind -- a state where the mind is not disturbed by external influences, and where the mind can have a serious look at others who suffer in some way or the other. Once this is done, the second step is to check as to what can be done, and this need not be just money. Thirdly, once the action is sought to be accomplished, we should compulsorily involve others too in the same process of reaching out to the person to whom we are thinking of showing empathy.
Empathy is not sympathy. Sympathy simply demands that we momentarily feel sorry for someone and give away money -- like helping a beggar with something like ten rupees.
Empathy is far more complex. For instance, realizing that ponds can jolly well solve the water trouble at least to some extent, several youngsters have formed voluntary groups, members of which get together through Facebook and have actively engaged in deepening of existing ponds, deepening of lakes and saving lakes from the encroachment danger, in several parts of Tamil Nadu. They also have the solid support of action Kamal Hasan, who has plunged into such meaningful work.
So, empathy does involve looking at much larger issues. It is not sympathy. It is the mother of all positive emotions, as when we are empathetic, we do demonstrate to the world that we can make a huge difference through constructive action.
Let us all get together to develop empathy in a big way. Members may please highlight good things being done in other places too.