Sunday, August 16, 2009

An Empathic Perspective On Prejudice, Forgiveness & Equality

Lets take a look at the very real issue of hate and prejudice within the subculture of the Empath. And lets also take a look at the realities that, as Empaths, we should, but as human beings do not always, exemplify in such things as equality and forgiveness.

So as always, lets start the ball rolling with some definitions. If you feel you already have a grasp of these things, please feel free to skip this portion of the discussion, as it is only meant to add some focus and readily available understanding to the discussion.

Definitions

Prejudice is a baseless and usually negative attitude toward members of a group. Common features of prejudice include negative feelings, stereotyped beliefs, and a tendency to discriminate against members of the group.

Hateful describes what elicits or deserves strong dislike, distaste, or revulsion. Hateful refers to what evokes hatred or deep animosity. It applies to what arouses abhorrence or scorn. It is something odious is the object of disgust, aversion, or intense displeasure. It is applied to what offends or excites displeasure like an offensive suggestion. It is also something repellent arouses repugnance or disgust.

Inequality is defined as the quality of being unequal; difference, or want of equality, in any respect; lack of uniformity; disproportion; unevenness; disparity; diversity; as, an inequality in size, stature, numbers, power, distances, motions, rank, property, etc.

Equality is defined as the condition or quality of being equal; agreement in quantity or degree as compared; likeness in bulk, value, rank, properties, etc.; as, the equality of two bodies in length or thickness; an equality of rights.

Forgiveness is the willingness to and the act of forgiving; the state of being forgiven; as, the forgiveness of sin or of injuries. It is the disposition to pardon.

Hate & Prejudice

As much as there is love and understanding in the world, there is also hate and prejudice. It is everywhere we turn. It is within religious organizations. It is within political affiliations. It is within the work force. It is within personal opinions.



And it doesn't matter what the cause is: whether someone is to fat, to skinny, different colored skin, different religion, sexual orientation, political party choice, hair color, the way their face is shaped, what kind of person they are.......and the list can go on forever.

Often times these types of people are phrased as 'hateful', 'ugly', 'mean', 'different', 'despicable', 'unpleasant'.......blah blah blah. The point is they are deemed unworthy based on something the other person find displeasing whether it is disposition or something else.

This type of hate and prejudice spreads like a cancer from one person to another, particularly in groups where new members which to 'belong' to the pack mentality and are afraid to stand against the majority opinion. Those that are new take on the mentalities, even if they privately disagree, of the majority. And that can make for a mob mentality, when it comes to those who are different or displeasing in some way.

To minimize its existence, is to attempt to justify its existence. And while everyone is entitled to their own opinions, this is a mentality and a behavior (hating and prejudice) which speaks to ones own innate fears and insecurities toward the world, not the real flaws of others.


Forgiveness & Equality

Forgiveness and equality on the other hand, are equally present within our social strata, be it in the subculture of the Empath or the much larger global community. Altruism is not something that is dead.

When one learns to forgive those who have hurt them, caused them to suffer, used them, abused them, manipulated them, tormented them, or any other number of issues, one learns that they have developed the ability to move on and grow mentally, physically, and spiritually. It is a beautiful thing.



Understand that this does not mean that one has to associate with those that have hurt you. It simply means you have let go of the hate and prejudice which have held you prisoner for so long, and that you are now ready and able to move on with your life, in what ever capacity and venue you choose.

And when one forgives, one is able to see others as human beings, with their own issues and problems. It levels the playing field and allows, what was once feared, to be seen in the same light as one's own suffering and pain. It allows for the viewpoint of equality, as apposed to inequality based on hate, prejudice, and/or fear.



The Subculture Of The Empath

As a subculture, the Empathic community (not to be confused with and with no disrespect to the website Empath Community) is generally one of gentle kindness, support and love, particularly to other new Empaths and those who are in need. But they are also human beings, who sometimes believe themselves above being prone to prejudice and hate (which ever kind one chooses).

So lets look at the definition of an Empath again. An Empath is a person who has an acute or highly developed sense of empathy. Empathy is the capability to share your feelings and understand another's emotion and feelings and is often characterized as the ability to "put oneself into another's shoes".

What this means is that an Empath is capable of seeing through anyone's eyes and understanding them. It means they can share in the feelings expressed by other people, and even those hidden and buried within them. It means that upon the occasion of an Empath working with someone, from human being to human being, the Empath is capable of such levels of empathy as to bring about small wonders of love and compassion toward other people.

So let me ask you this? Is that limited by hate and prejudice in the Empath? Or should they at least attempt to cultivate an understanding of the people they deem 'ugly', 'undesirable', 'distastful' and so on. Does Empathy end when the blinders of prejudice , which are put over ones own consciousness, rise up over a single title or a single trait that is held up as unworthy?

I'm not saying you have to love every soul on this planet. I'm not saying you have to agree with everyone either. And I'm certainly not saying that you have to stay where there is use, abuse or hurting going on. That is not the issue at hand.

We will all have personal opinions and preferences. But when you work as an Empath, is it not possible to separate those feelings, which might taint our work as Empaths, from the perspective with which you work with others, so that you are capable of seeing each person, even those who use and abuse, as human beings with issues.

Limited or prejudiced Empathy is just that, limited and prejudiced. It is tainted by hate. It does not engender growth or facilitate healing. It leaves the Empath impotent and stagnating.

And as a subculture, which we are indeed becoming with our growing numbers, what example will we set for ourselves to the world? Each of you count in that example. Each of you matter. So think about it, please.

Within each of you is the potential for so much more than you realize, if only you are willing to reach inside yourselves and find it. Because the mark of an Empath is that the strength and compassion they exhibit to others.

And if you isolate yourself, even from just one or two types of people (for whatever reason) you might miss out on a lesson that might later come in handy when you are working to help heal someone. Life is about experiences, both good and bad, and if you evade those, then how can you truly teach them or guide others toward healing?

So as I said before, think about it, please. Its important.




Quotes On Equality

All men are created equal, It is only men themselves who place themselves above equality.
David Allan Coe

All the people like us are we, and everyone else is They.

Rudyard Kipling

Coming generations will learn equality from poverty, and love from woes.
Kahlil Gibran

From the equality of rights springs identity of our highest interests; you cannot subvert your neighbor's rights without striking a dangerous blow at your own.
Carl Schurz


Quotes On Empathy


One who knows how to show and to accept kindness will be a friend better than any possession.
Sophocles

Only your compassion and your loving kindness are invincible, and without limit.
Thich Nhat Hanh

People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.
Bonnie Jean Wasmund

Remember there's no such thing as a small act of kindness. Every act creates a ripple with no logical end.
Scott Adams

Smile at each other, smile at your wife, smile at your husband, smile at your children, smile at each other - it doesn't matter who it is - and that will help you to grow up in greater love for each other.
Mother Teresa

So long as we love we serve;/ So long as we are loved by others,/ I would almost say that we are indispensable;/ And no one is useless while they have a friend.
Robert Louis Stevenson

Tenderness and kindness are not signs of weakness and despair, but manifestations of strength and resolution.
Kahlil Gibran

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