Without empathy, we lose what makes us special, what makes us inherently human. What sets us apart from other species on earth is our ability to share and understand the feelings of another. Without empathy many emotions would not exist; compassion, jealousy, love etc.
Could you imagine a universe where human beings cannot feel love, for oneself or another?
We can’t all feel equally for the people around us, some have more empathy than others and I like to think that it’s Balance doing its job once again. Those who feel most intensely bear the ‘burden’ of a heavy heart but also the glory of it.
The ‘burden’ of a heavy heart is not simply the heaviness but the spontaneity of it hitting you without warning. Simply looking/observing a complete stranger in society can bring upon this feeling.
We like to put ourselves in other’s shoes, to understand that there are others living their life just like you are…except under extremely different circumstances.
So yes, we put ourselves in their shoes and try to imagine what sort of circumstance they’re going home to, or leaving home to. I have too often, and without warning, become filled with compassion for others only to have to force myself to accept that there is nothing I can do to affect, touch, or change their circumstance.
What can you do to touch someone’s life whom you’ve only seen for mere seconds while driving? What can you do to help someone whom you’ve seen struggling in a picture/video?
There’s also the thought to consider that maybe you’ve overthought their circumstance, that maybe you’ve constructed their ‘sad life’ based on your perception of physical stance, dress, and expression. Maybe it’s simply your stereotyping… or maybe you try to convince yourself that so that it’s easier to let go, forger, and move on in the bubble of your own life? Whatever the case, it is always easier to let go, to retreat to being solely conscious of self and those in our bubble.
It is in my opinion, and experience, that people (young adults mostly) have neglected or buried their empathy. We’ve become completely wrapped up in ourselves and our universe without realizing. We walk through a crowd solely conscious of ourselves, and our physical body. We move around people, or stop to talk to a familiar face completely unconscious of others around us. Why have we neglected our humanity? Is it really that much easier than feeling for others around us, or simply being conscious of them?