Empathy

Darling, do you ever wonder how others live?

When people become better at seeing themselves in the lives of others, feeling other’s suffering and easing their pain, the life in that community gets better

Melinda Gates, Moment of Lift

We aren’t at risk of a surfeit of empathy. A quick glance around our world shows the need for a lot more effort to understand the lives, suffering and pain of others.

Our isolation is an opportunity to reflect. That reflection need not be introspection and despair at what we are losing. Reflection can be a time to consider the position of others and seek to understand more deeply.

Empathy is a source of so much power in our world. Great products are built from the insights of deep empathy for customers. Great influence comes from putting oneself in the shoes of the other and speaking to their position and their needs. Great relationships are founded on empathy and care for others.

Others don’t have to be alien and unknowable. Projecting our own opinions is unforgivably lazy. We can all learn more by watching and asking questions. Simply putting the question “what might others think of my view?’ into our thought process we step a little towards an understanding of other’s perspectives.

Empathy is uncomfortable. Rightly so. That discomfort is a source of understanding, learning and change. Empathy takes us beyond our own careful constructed edifices and shows us the systems and processes that harm others. When we can see those processes and that harm we have a chance to make change.

True compassion is more than flinging coins to a beggar. It comes to see that an edifice that produces beggars needs restructuring

Martin Luther King Jr

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