#24 – Empathy

This is #24 in the series, “50 Ideas Worth Fighting For.”
Here’s another one you might like.


“So compelling is the evidence of our own eyes and ears, so swift is your mind to assemble your own version of the story, that one of the hardest things in this world is to understand there’s another way of seeing things.”

{ Niall Williams, This is Happiness }

Empathy is a too big a topic to be reduced to a single quotation from page 48 of the novel I’m reading. I admit that I would like to leave it at that. It’s an easy and satisfying way out of a deeper discussion on a topic that is easy to mention and difficult to live.

That’s why it’s worth fighting for. It needs more practitioners and when we’re done looking around for them, we can finally arrive at the conclusion that that means us.

It’s hard to speak about empathy in a personal way because it reminds of my daily failing to practice it. I am impatient and confident which is not a terrific combination for pausing to consider another way of seeing things.

I did have a small victory the other day. At the very last moment before issuing a sigh of impatience at my perception of someone’s carelessness, I remembered that they were holding the pain of unwelcome news. I stopped myself and chose another path.

It was a close call, a brief break in my pattern. I can do it again.

I know I can do it again.


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