What is empathy? A fancy word for sympathy? Oh NO! That’s like seeing someone dancing from far and saying that its same as dancing by yourself. Simply put, empathy is the closest form of feeling to what someone else is going through. You are not pitying them entirely, but you are “feeling” being in their situation.
Its very hard to explain it to someone who hasn’t felt it or has sparingly felt it but hasn’t recognized the feeling yet.
Seen someone get bullied in college and the aftermath of the terror they go through? Do you pity them or the pain actually gets to you so much that you skip a couple of your routine behavioral tasks? If the latter is what you feel, even similar, that’s closest to empathy that we all feel time and again. Most of us train ourselves to ignore the feeling right away as that’s “totally unnecessary” or could be an “overreaction”. But that “feeling” is what it is, my friend.
If nothing is convincing or revoking the exact feeling of “empathy” in you, how about this:
“God forbid, if you are in the exact SAME situation RIGHT NOW. How would you be feeling at the moment?”
Do you feel your eyes moisten a little or a wave of terror blinding your eyes? or anger swooshing through your veins? How about “God forbid, if you are going through the same FOR A WHILE now?”. Now the entire spectrum of other emotions rise up to the surface, ain’t it?
True, empathy is totally unnecessary if you feel for a pigeon who couldn’t find anything to eat at a place and just flew away as fast as it came there looking for something. Empathy affects your normal life, depending on to what range you let it occupy you. But it can also anchor your life in a way that would totally change it and you wouldn’t even recognize it. We all say “Stay tough. The world is bad”. But you know what’s tougher? Staying good while the world is STILL BAD. Being rude to others or even family and friends just to avoid being vulnerable or being portrayed as weak is just a fancy pretentious personality that can be called as “weak”. The strongest are those who let their defense unguarded among the closest ones, are polite to probably everybody and YET hold themselves up in a righteous way. You can easily slay someone in person, in front of others or even in the social media. Targeting their behavior and branding yourselves superior, but has it got you the ultimate happiness? or the ultimate peace? That which you would probably achieve by ACTUALLY doing some work. Be it charity or something on your own ambition. I can bet your answer would be “No” even though you are not emotionally mature enough to accept it (or recognize it).
People who actually empathize others, feel and recognize the fullest of other emotions such as introspection, consciousness, conscience etc. But most of them are victims of the negativity that surrounds them. Whether its happening on them or on others, doesn’t matter. Don’t let it get confused with other similar feelings such as victimizing oneself. Victimizing oneself is seeking sympathy but sulking for something that is usually not even your situation is empathy.
Till recent times, only IQ was being counted for a person’s intelligence and the success that he/she achieves through it. But with the raise of research on psychological behaviors that affect the performance of people at their work place or even at home, the EQ a.k.a Emotional Intelligence rose to popularity. Intelligence matched with Emotional intelligence is the ultimate deadly combo that could make someone as successful or as dreadful as one decides to steer it.
Now, without steering away from the actual topic. Has empathy helped you in your life? Or has it made your life worse? Drop your comments below and share your experiences.