I’m a student again. I know, I know, the only thing constant in my life is change. That’s not important today though. This time around part of what I’m studying is human behavior as it pertains to communication. Last night read about sympathy versus empathy. The difference, in a nutshell, is that sympathy is self-centered and empathy is other-centered. We can appear sympathetic but never really try to see or feel anyone else’s point of view.
It is the empathy we seem to be missing these days. These days when we use hate to discuss the building of religious centers. These days, where kids seem to think spreading someone’s private acts around a campus is acceptable. These days, when grown men running for political office can’t seem to utter anything but rhetoric that is laced with venom. These days, when a young man jumps off a bridge because he is so alone.
It seems to me if we had a little more empathy we’d have a lot less hate. It seems to me, if we made an effort to put ourselves in an other’s place, not just feel sorry for them but really truly feel what they feel and see what they see, then our discussions would be peaceful and logical instead of loud and filled with hate.
As parents, teaching empathy may be our number one job. As humans, we need to make sure we practice what we teach.
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