BY Renée Sporer
As a theme has begun to arise in the last few articles posted here, I asked Renée Sporer if she would be willing to share a post she wrote that I felt spoke quite well to the topic at hand and add to the conversation. Thank you Renée for your thoughts.
Drake De Long-Farmer
Being empathetic never occurred to me to be a challenging state of the heart. I always pretty much assumed that everyone understood it, even though that probably just was because I always understood it. Empathy, in my understanding is the ability to put yourself in someone else’s shoes- or see things from their perspective. Trying to grasp why they feel, act, or what it would be like to be them in their situation. I’ve always gotten this. For some reason, I’ve always cared about other people. I try to put myself into their spot and see how I would feel in such a situation. Sometimes it’s rough. I feel what other people feel, even if I don’t want to. And at the end of the day, I’m glad I do.
I’m writing this, because it worries me that a lot of people miss the boat on this one. Let me illustrate an example. So I know someone has an illness and maybe it makes them look off one day. And then people question that individual why they look so ‘funny’ or what is wrong with their face? Or something along those lines. Such comments hurt me. Right to the core. Why? Because I put myself in that person’s shoes and I can imagine how embarrassed they probably would feel hearing those comments and not wanting to give an answer. The other problem of this, is that the most common answer to the reasoning behind such behavior is “I was only joking” (and yes, I have at times been guilty of this as well). Maybe it was a joke to you, and the intent wasn’t to harm, but I think what it most important, is that you become AWARE of other people’s feelings. Be aware of the fact that maybe a “joking comment” isn’t going to be appropriate towards a particular person. Let’s spread love people.
It’s one of those things where you might not always know what is going on behind the scenes in someone’s life.
On the flip side of this, I know that maybe people would say, well, technically you CHOOSE what you let affect you, or upset you. You choose to let someone’s words get to you. Okay, fair enough. Yes I am in charge of what I let bother me, but that isn’t a free pass for everyone to say what they want, act how they want, and say that it’s not their fault if someone takes offense to it. To me, this is one of the BIGGEST cop outs ever.
You know what I would like to see? More and more people becoming increasingly aware of the feelings of others. You might not know what a person is going through, emotionally, physically, etc. So maybe hold back comments that are unnecessary. I’m not always perfect in this department by any means, but I try to make a conscious effort to try and understand people. I know what it’s like to be put down all the time. And you know what? I do my best to not let comments or actions have any hold over me. But it’s not always easy when I’m dealing with things in my life. I’ve had emotional struggles, physical struggles, self esteem struggles, I’ve had people pass away in my life, and I don’t always tell people about the things going on (because I really don’t have to expose everything I’m dealing with). And I am quite confident that everyone deals with things like this at one time or another in their life. So recall a time you were dealing with something and I imagine it would have made the situation better if you had people supporting you, and not putting you down.
Ultimately, I sincerely wish that more people would become aware of this. Build people up! Encourage! Speak words of life and power into people’s lives. Especially your friends and family. Become more aware of the things you express to others because you might not ever know what they are going through. Choose to be empathetic. To me it is one of the greatest character traits one can have. We should all be on each other’s teams. We should always cheering on the people in our lives to overcome, to be raised up, to feel loved and motivated through whatever it is we are working through. We should learn to be cheerleaders, true friends, and sidekicks with others. Spread the love people!
"If we could look into each other’s hearts and understand the unique challenges each of us faces, I think we would treat each other much more gently, with more love, patience, tolerance, and care.” -Marvin J. Ashton
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