Over the past few months we discussed Love, compassion, kindness & service to others but the next step to truly grow as a person is empathy. Do you have empathy for other people? Do you know what empathy is? Is there a difference between empathy & sympathy?
Let's start with the dictionary.com definition of empathy: "Identification with and understanding of another's situation, feelings, and motives." We are all born with the desire to care deeply about other people. In fact in a recent article I read we begin to show signs of empathy by our 1st birthday & by our 2nd we will actually do & ask things to try & help the person in distress. So what happens to us? I believe that many people in the world today are afraid to feel. They are afraid to get caught up in other peoples problems & it's easier to just not let "others" affect us.
I don't buy any of this. I have always felt deeply for anyone in my life & I am deeply affected by others when I learn their story. Empathy is the pathway to a better more joyful life because your emotional connection to others will lead to more & more giving of yourself. This giving of yourself in return will open you up to receive many more blessings then you can ever imagine.
Imagine a world where everyone cared about everyone else & because of this we always did what was best for them. This would lead to a world that was a wonderful place to live!
So is there a difference between sympathy & empathy? I believe the answer to this is yes! Sympathy is feeling sorry for another person, which is nice in it's own way but empathy is experiencing the same feelings as the other person. This deeper understanding of each other and the issues we face is what will make all the difference in the world.
Open yourself to all feelings, your own & all the people in your life. Be willing to feel deeply & understand where someone else is coming from. Make the world a better place by having empathy for everyone in your life. Lead by example, remember what it's like to be a caring child again!
Quote of the day: "Empathy is the pathway to a better world. Allow yourself to feel deeply about others & you'll discover more joy in your life!"