Wednesday, April 6, 2011

A to Z Challange

A tribute to the letter E

Empathy

Today I thought that I would write about energy that I don't really have and a couple of lines complaining about the two rough days I had, would be sufficient. I will close up the blog. But no, my daughter remembered that I had planned on writing about Empathy so here I am. I hope that I will be able to put down my thoughts accurately.

This is the advantage of having kids who are not babies anymore.  I tell them my plans and sometimes when the day actually comes for me to see a doctor, even if it slips my mind, they go "so call me and let me know how it went at the doctors today." Oops, good thing he reminded me, and in a nonchalant way I say, "I will."  If I am trying to develop empathy with people who are serious when they say that they are getting forgetful, I think that I am close. It is one of my biggest fears. Not being able to remember, comprehend and express myself. 

Empathy is, (unlike sympathy) the feeling of pain you get when you meet someone or hear about someone who went through the same pain that you felt. This phenomenon is amazing. I cannot get over it. If I hear on the news about someone who died in an auto accident and their loved ones are upset, my mind goes back to my aunt who lost two of her daughters. This was back in 1984 and in India. So why does my mind relate to the new victims like they were my own family? Old Indian expression translates that it is because we are one big universal family. Pain is something that brings the lost ones closer, this way.

It is very sad to hear that a teacher who was missing in Japan in Tsunami, was found dead. He was from Alaska. My sympathies and my prayers are with his family. I don't know the kind of pain they are feeling but unfortunately thousands of Japanese people do.

I lost my father to Pancreatic Cancer. My daughter never met my father, but she says that every time she hears about someone who died of Pancreatic Cancer, she feels for them. 

9 comments:

Ocean Girl said...

What a thoughtful tribute to the word empathy. Precise and clear, we were in your shoes.

yaya said...

Wonderful post! You expressed it beautifully. Many times we want to keep our feelings closed off from the world..but the world and all it's inhabitants needs those feelings to remember we are truly one family with everyone just trying to do their best to get through each day.

Hold my hand: a social worker's blog said...

I can relate to this post as I empathize with my residents and families all the time. Empathy is not a negative feeling. It reflects your sensitivity and understanding of others' challenging situations. However, empathic feelings should not interfere with your normal routine or life. If empathy turns into Depression, or Anxiety, or Insomnia--then I would be concerned.

Great post!

Doris

Footprints of Peace said...

I can relate to this posting because of my position as a step parent. It is easy for me to empathize with my step children because of my own experiences. I learned the different meaning of sympathy vs empathy in college. It is wonderful that you took the challenge to write about their differences; I'm sure there are a lot of people who don't know there is a difference. Great blog!

Vanilla Mama said...

What a wonderful post - I will always remember your Indian saying: Old Indian expression translates that it is because we are one big universal family. Pain is something that brings the lost ones closer, this way.
People today in general are very narcissistic and do not empathize enough - they might think, "Thank God it's not me!" but beyond that no empathy! Thanks for the thoughtful post!

NormalToEatPB said...

Empathy is earned and brings us closer together.

Monalisa said...

Beautiful post :)

Lucy said...

I am truly 81 years old and so happy to hear so many of my own thoughts expressed in your entry. Your blog is lovely but your words are even better. Beautiful entry.

Arlee Bird said...

Sympathy is considerate and a nice gesture, but it doesn't have the depth of meaning and the ability provide the real comfort that empathy does. Good choice of topic for E.

Lee
tossingitout.blogspot.com