Empathy is described as the the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.
I think it is more than that.
I think empathy is an obligation.
It obligates us to do something.
It is one thing to feel for someone else, or to understand what they are going through, but it quite another to do something about that feeling and understanding.
What we need is more than feeling empathic, we need to do more empathic work.
If you see someone struggling with something, don’t just feel for them, something about it.
Here’s my reflection: I would argue that being wildly, inappropriately empathic and generous has two potential effects, if you are open to them.
The first is short-term, a kind of giddy “feel-good” euphoria that washes over you when you are empathic. That may lead directly to more right action.
And the second [drip, drip, drip, over time] is an integration into one’s “code,” behavior, traits, habits [whatever it is, and wherever it comes from] of generosity as a core operating principle, an integral part of how we describe ourselves to ourselves.
But, I like the fact that it is about action.
We talk so much about what we need to do, and talk is inevitably cheap.
The only way I have found to really change my behaviors is by actually changing my behaviors.
I always wondered why somebody didn’t do something about that, then I realised I am somebody.
Being empathic is important, but doing something about it is *importanter.
*Importanter: If there is such a word.
One thought on “Empathy: More than just a feeling”