About Empathy

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Let me ask you a question.

How many times have you been on the receiving end of someone ‘venting out’ stuff on you?

Have you ever been elevated to this role model of impossible empathy that you can no more find people understanding that maybe, at times, you need a friend like that too?

I once read somewhere that you cannot serve with an empty heart. You need to be emotionally balanced enough to soak in the imbalances of others. And frankly, helping people lighten their load, if only by being a patient listener, is what humans, as a community is all about.

That’s how we survive; helping each other, promoting each other’s growth, celebrating the victories, mourning the loses.

But the material point is, I’ve only ever found so many people willing enough to empathize these days. Sympathy? Yes, that is present in abundance. But empathy? The art of putting yourself in someone else’s shoes and trying to actually feel their misery?

That is what lacks.

In taxing times, you don’t need people nodding at you and telling you the ‘wicked ways of the world,’ or that somewhere in extreme parts of the Earth people are starving; that doesn’t quite put their tumult to rest now does it?

We need more people bold enough to say, ‘I’m here for you if you need me,’ and brave enough to mean it. We need more people to re-establish other people’s faith in this morally declining world.

It’s hard being a vessel all the time. Vessel open to all forms of lamentations, grief, agitation and pain and still manage to uphold the countenance of a calm face, comforting eyes and an understanding touch.

But hey, I’m here to tell you it is okay.

I’ve been on receiving end of the laments of a lot of different people. I’ve been the receiving end of the adults in my family.

I’ve tried my best empathizing with people 30 years ahead of me. I’ve heard my much younger friends and tried my best to console.

I’ve listened to strangers online. I’ve even maintained a tolerable disposition in front of people I generally dislike.

But.

I’ve also seen people get gradually distracted and lose sense of the conversation when I’m at the pouring end. I’ve also seen people fidgeting with their cell phone while I eventually, with a few hesitant, muffled words succumb to silence. I’ve seen people lose interest when the conversation is no more revolving around ‘them.’

I’ve also noticed general apathy in the eyes of the receiver.

I’ve seen it and I’ve been quiet. Maybe that’s just how the world works. However, what I observed during this course was, people with the lack of a listening heart, often find solace within themselves. They crumble and crawl inside and eventually find rest within the comforting box of their own warmth.

Eventually, these people stop voicing out and get used, or rather comfortable, finding their peace within themselves. Or to take an extra daring step, maybe in a few pages of literature?


Can you guess why I chose a picture of a lighthouse with this post? Let me know in the comments.