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Where did our empathy go?
During recent years, with the rise of social media, and the internet in general, we have witnessed the power that we have as a society; the incredible things we are capable of doing when using our empathy, turning thousands of people into one single being.
We have seen many people working together to sign petitions that help others; making donations, no matter how small, just to help them find a cure for their illness, to have a decent life, or even to launch their product/business idea, supporting other people with problems through awareness videos, art projects, blog posts and more.
But, in the reality, how many of us really make use of empathy in the small things we do every day, in our daily life?
We all like to see those typical motivational posts with encouraging quotes, we all, or at least almost all of us, have at some point clicked the “fav” or “like” button and shared these posts to show everyone how much we care about people. (Yes, that’s the main reason most people share things, to show others what we like or don’t like. If we did it for ourselves, we would publish it in a private place, or wouldn’t publish it at all, not in a public place for all to see).
How many of you have ever liked or shared similar posts like these?
And yet, how many of you have led by example? How many of you have judged, criticized, made fun of, or even made a hateful comment about someone just because he or she wrote a sentence with a misspelt word or grammatical error, in the last few months? Did you ever stop to think if maybe that person was in a hurry, or was using a small device and pressed the wrong button, or was writing in a language that wasn’t his or her mother tongue, or didn’t have a proper education, or had some kind of disability?
We all like to see ourselves as good people, as someone who cares about others and strongly empathizes with them, and we probably do. When it comes to social movements, we all seem to be that person. However, most of our individual actions don’t seem to show that.
I can’t count how many times over the last month I have seen hateful comments from people about others for the most superfluous things, like not liking the same post/thing, not agreeing with something, dressing in a different way, or not having perfect teeth, or simply for having fallen over.
Judging others is a fact of life; we can’t help it, that’s how we are. We judge everything we see, be it a person, an animal, or a rock. Making these judgments, in some way, helps us to stay aware and prepared for any possible adversity. But do we really need to hate others or make them feel bad about themselves just because they aren’t like us or don’t meet our concept of what is considered to be “normal”?
We should make more use of our empathy and less use of our aggressive behavior. I believe that if we did, we would all be much happier. Wouldn’t it be great if you could do whatever it was that you liked, without fear of being ridiculed, like dancing or speaking a new language, for example?
If we really want to make significant changes in our society and create a world that is better for the coming generations, the first thing we should start working on is empathy, don’t you think?
Proofread by Emma May Price.
© 2015 Katia De Juan