This is going to be a shorter post because frankly, I don’t have that much to say. But I did read an article the other day that really struck me. It was of course about the political tornado in a jar we’re living in, but something about the article really resonated with me. And it’s that none of the work we do will change anything if people aren’t able to empathize with those around them. I simply don’t believe that we will get anywhere in the world until we can do that.
The article is titled, “I Don’t Know How to Explain To You That You Should Care About Other People,” which is exactly how I feel. It was published on Huffington Post by an award winning video editor named Kayla Chadwick. Basically the article goes on to talk about how if you aren’t willing to pay a little more or do a little more to make sure your fellow Americans can put food on their tables and roofs over your head, you’re missing the point. We all have to do more. We all have to put ourselves in the shoes of people unlike us. In whatever way. Until we can empathize with each other and understand each other’s struggles we get nowhere.
The article didn’t have a whole lot of depth to it, but it didn’t have to. It is plain and simple. Until we can empathize with each other and understand that every single one of us needs each other to make this whole thing work, we won’t even move an inch.
If you’ve ever tried to reason with someone who is so far on the other side of things from you, you’ve realized that it does no good to argue. It only does good to show them where you’re coming from and how you got there. We need discussions. Not debates. Of course there are many people in America who are not ready to discuss. They are ready to come at you with every article and factoid they have in their arsenal to use against you. Realize this. It does no good to fight fire with fire. We can’t teach people how to care. We have to show them. In showing them, we can only hope that something hits them deep down inside and appeals to their most childlike sensibilities. Where empathy grows.
When we are children, we are sensitive. We respond. We learn to care about things that might seem trivial to us now. In that space, we learned to feel. We learned to feel for others and over time that gets chipped away. As we learn to be who we are and understand our own needs, our ego grows. Our selfish ways chip away all of that empathy we grew as children. And then we are left as a hardened shell of something we once were. Only caring about what directly impacts us or possibly those around us that we love and care about. We are taught to live in this society. A society that tells you who to be and what to wear and how to act. We lose our empathy for those unlike us.
We have to go back. We have to tap into our childlike sensibilities and grow from there. Empathy cannot be taught, it must be shown. We must care about those around us, no matter their struggle, as much as we care about ourselves. Without empathy, we can not progress.
So the next time you get frustrated trying to tell someone your point of view, show them. The more we show and less we tell, the better.