Saturday, August 8, 2009

Examples Of Empathy.......or Not?

An African America man on crutches walks into a southern Louisiana Methodist church in a small town during a sunday service. He asks for help, but not money. People become outraged that he had the nerve to interrupt the service with his needs and three large men quite literally throw him out of the church while spouting horrible and obscene names at him.

The answer to this one would be obvious to anyone who read it, because it is riff with prejudice, hate, and even malice.

A woman on the run from her abusive husband, with 2 small children in tow, makes it to a woman's battered shelter and is told they have no room left for her and her children. So she goes to a homeless shelter, where someone recognizes her and turns her into her husband.

Again, obvious right?

A man running from people who are trying to do him harm, runs to a store with the lights still on, but with the closed sign up. He bangs on the windows for help. For them to at least call the police, but the person inside points to the closed sign and goes about their business, leaving the man to his fate.

Obvious right?

A woman and her husband are walking on the sidewalk one night, and she is wearing a pentagram around her throat. Some teenagers begin to harass her. And her only statement in passing to them is, 'Blessed be'. And she is hurt so bad that she has brain damage to the point where she can't even remember what happened to her. But she lives in constant fear anyway.

We don't want to read stories like these, particularly here. We want to push them to the side and forget about them. Possibly because we see enough of them in the media and/or have experienced them ourselves. Perhaps it makes you shutter or have a flashback. Perhaps you think you are to sensitive to deal with these things. But this is Empathy.

Its not just the joys we share with one another. Its not just the usual sorrows of a family member dying or having someone use you and throw you out. Its every person and every event.

To not look or read, which is your choice based on what you believe your limits are, is to say that those people's suffering is beyond you and those events have nothing to do with you, so you can avoid it.

Those stories aren't about the lack of empathy in the people in the stories. Thats the obvious part. Its about you and what you feel as you read them. And whether you choose to avoid them.

And while some might believe this kind of stuff is offered up to offend or hurt people, it is not. It is offered to take you beyond your limits and show you how truly empathic you are. In other words what you are truly capable of, despite your own issues, fears, and anxieties.

The Empathic Life is not just light and love. Its about being willing to walk back into that darkness, you found your way out of, in order to help others who are truly in need of help. And it takes time to be able to do that, but none the less, that is the ultimate goal. Its easy to say 'I'm an Empath', and much harder to do.

Is that something everyone will choose? No, of course not. Are they wrong in doing it? No. But it begs the question, what is holding them back from reaching out to others?

How many of you avoid commercials like these, because they are either to painful to watch or hit to close to home?





How many of you are afraid to look at images like these?




All of these are examples of REAL empathy. Because, like when you work with someone to help them heal, their words and their suffering force you to bear witness to pain of all kinds. So to do these.

Feel free to think what you like about this particular blog. But this is an important part of the Empathic process that most tend to avoid at all costs. Its key, because if you can not see and understand other people's suffering, how can you truly experience being an Empath in its totality?

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