The Bright Side
Terry O’Neill, former Lake Geneva Alderman, writes from his heart:
Empathy for others is an essential characteristic of humanity surviving. Without empathy, humanity reverts to inhumanity and the inhumane treatment of others. Empathy is the ability to see, respect and care for the life in others, such that one feels another’s experience as their own. This enables a person to be more understanding, forgiving and caring toward others. Most people and societies apply empathy in various amounts to selected individuals, groups and animals, while leaving others outside of their protective umbrella of empathy. The level to which empathy is applied, and felt or withheld, determines what is considered acceptable or unacceptable treatment of others. For people to limit or excluded their feelings of empathy from others requires physical, mental and emotional separation, and the greater the isolation the more it enables the dehumanization of the relationship and their actions to become. Empathy or the lack of it may be in one’s DNA, or perhaps it may be taught or learned from experience.
Empathy, like a problem has two parts:
1.) The problem itself
2.) The tension (emotions) that the problem creates.
The tension (empathy) is the emotional and motivating part of a problem, and needs to be addressed first because people can live with problems, but not with the emotional dissonance that they can cause. Those lacking empathy often prey on the empathy of others for personal benefit or organizational revenue. It is not always easy to separate legitimate requests from those that are not. Just as it is not always easy to tell the difference between empathy and love. Because empathy is like love in the feelings that one has for those who have suffered, but love unlike empathy, does not turn to anger, and against those who may have caused, permitted or enable the suffering to occur; whereas, empathy by itself often does. Empathy like loyalty is selective; whereas, love is universal and applies to all.
Cartoon of the Week