Understanding and sharing the feelings of others, without necessarily agreeing with their situation or opinions, is a broad way of defining empathy.
Giving our undivided attention to another person is a powerful act of empathy. We listen to really hear that other person, not just for a chance to insert our own words into their pauses. It is, we could say, engaging with people without a hidden agenda.
Kindness is transmitted through empathy; a kindness which might not soothe, yet in its own way provides a message of hope. It is a reassurance that yes things may be difficult but, as the saying goes, “every cloud really does have a silver lining.”
Acknowledging and respecting the diversity of our world can lead us to embrace empathetically our own situation deriving from the interconnectivity of life. The differences, rather than keeping us apart, unite us in oneness with the world.
Having pondered Apathy, Sympathy and now Empathy, perhaps the concluding thought can be left to Mother Teresa: “Each of us feels that we are just a drop in the ocean, but the ocean would be less without that missing drop.”
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