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  • Category: Miscellaneous

    Developing empathy, the mother of all positive emotions

    Empathy 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.
  • #635432
    So what you mean that empathy leads to sympathy and the enemy country would subsidize its anti thinking against India. Its not like that. Every guests who visit China are being treated with royal welcome and even many treaties will be signed. But when it comes to Internal security and threat for China, it wont spare any country. Even India is in that position. We welcome any country to our door and we even talk of cooperation on many field and when it comes to security and welfare of the people , we tow our own line of policy. So China having soft corner after visit of Modi to that country is just on going confidence building measure to sooth the relations.
    K Mohan
    'Idhuvum Kadandhu Pogum "
    Even this challenging situation would ease

  • #635455
    I agree that empathy is a needed virtue and character. However I am not convinced by the example you cited by using the PM's trip overseas.

    Empathy can be explained by not getting angry and impatient at a traffic signal managed a traffic police man. Empathy is when we feel for his difficulty in standing under scorching sun without even water. If we show patience,without murmuring or cursing, till he signals us to go and , if we give him a bottle of water, then that is empathy.

  • #635519
    What "Empathy" gives us an impression is to experience of the understanding of another person's thoughts, feelings, and condition from their point of view, rather than from your own. So in here we may try to imagine ourselves in their place in order to understand what they are feeling or experiencing.

    This seems to be experiencing within self & within our mind of the circumstantial presence of others. This feelings can be vary in emotions or the understanding of physical sufferings too. Unlike showing sympathy, the empathy involves shafting of stage with the victims so as to reduce the overall pain & sufferings on one account.

  • #635544
    Yesterday I was in yamunotri. There we have to go by walk about 5Kms. This route is a very irregular stairs and we have to climb. There many people use horses or doli. When I see those people who are carrying these dolis with people. Really the feeling I got is that why one should make some people to carry us. But a thought that they are getting their food made me a little satisfied but the empathy I developed is very high. The way they go step by step with a doli on their shoulders is really a very pity aspect.
    Similarly the horses carry people is a real unwanted to see. A horse carrying a person and has to climb the hill is very soul breaking.

    always confident

  • #635858
    A nice thoughtful thread about empathy. It's use in political relationships and deepening of lakes does not sound correct to me.

    Empathy also means that we are mature enough to respect the person or in trouble/difficulty and instead of having pity we help them to have quality, self respect, and dignity.

    Many times, when I see physically or visually challenged people in the offices or streets, I have a greater degree of respect and pause. Many of us crib and grumble when God has given us everything but yet, these amazing human beings do more in life with little in hand.

    There are many self help groups of victims of abuse, cancer, disability and they focus on empathy, mutual support and ways to led lives as normal as possible.

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