Friday, June 12, 2009


Empathy: the action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experience of another of either the past or present without having the feelings, thoughts, and experience fully communicated in an objectively explicit manner ; also : the capacity for this

Empathy has always been important to me. It was on my top ten list of things I wanted to teach my children and it's what I look for in people I associate with. My Grandma Weeks first introduced me to a definition of empathy. When I was a young teen, she gave me a card with this Cherokee Prayer:

Oh Great spirit,
grant that I may never find fault
with my neighbor until I have walked
the trail of life in his moccasins.

I can still remember my mom sitting beside me on my bed explaining to me what it meant and how important it was. And now I try to take advantage of any opportunities given to me with the short people to illustrate empathy in a way I hope they'll understand.
I'm beginning to realize that when I encounter people (not including children) who lack empathy, I have a difficult time seeing their humanity and feeling empathy for their situation. I don't believe it's on purpose. It just doesn't happen.
I'd like to change this, but I think I have to understand why this happens before I can repair it.

1 comment:

Rebekah said...

Ironic isn't it? I too find it hard to empathize with people who aren't empathetic. Do you think its to show us where we are still lacking in this area?