Sunday, June 04, 2006

I Empathize With Ya

I hope that you are still capable of feeling empathy towards those inside of your cirlce of the world. Empathy as it turns out has many sides to it and is a deeper topic than has been appreciated of late.

After some minor research into empathy, I've found that there is a condition called empathy distress. I've also read about empathy avoidance (boy do I know alot about avoidance). Plus, there are politics attached to practicing empathy in the workplace.

And, but of course, there is tough empathy. Now if none of these apply to you, rest assured, you can take many a workshops to try to learn empathy.

My question to you would be, do you really believe that empathy can be taught? Doesn't one just feel empathy, or not?

Let's look closer at the many facets of empathy. Empathy distress is experienced by persons who can't detach themselves from those they feel empathy for. Nurses, social workers, child services counselors are examples of persons who can become empathy distressed. Feeling too much empathy for someone can inhibit that person's ability to provide adequate and objective care.

Empathy avoidance, is just that. Someone is avoiding feeling any empathy, again to help them aid another person in a proper manner. Police officers would be a good example of a profession that might practice empathy avoidance on a daily basis. It's not that a person cannot feel empathy, they just want to avoid any semblane of empathy.

Tough empathy on the other hand, becomes a situation where you can feel empathy but still take the appropriate action which can be reprimanding or firing a person. Donald Trump for example shows tough empathy on his show "The Apprentice". For television camera purposes, he cares about those that he fires for millions of viewers enjoyment.

Next we need to know about the politicts of empathy. Those in positions of power want persons for which they hold the power over, to show them empathy, instead of the person of power showing empathy to those lower on the power pole.

Empathy can be used as a manipulation tool. If empathy is shown but is an untrue empathy or a faked empathy, a person is more than likely trying to manipulate others into doing what they want done all in the name of really caring about the person doing the doing.

Can empathy be taught? I don't think so. Regulating empathy is a skill that can be effectively taught, especially to leaders, supervisors, managers or even politicans. But in its rawest form, people either care about other people enough to really listen and to really care or they just don't give a damn.

Why should I care or for that matter why should you or anyone care about empathy? Because I believe the lack of empathy to be the one true thing missing in today's I don't care, you don't care world.

While searching for answers to why kids are graduating high school or not, without a clue as to what it takes to be a caring and productive person in the grown up society or why kids are killing kids at alarming rates, or why adult men continue to setup dates on the Internet with children of all ages but legal age, or how one half of a marriage can literally kill the other half for money or revenge, we seem to overlook what the lack of empathy has created.

If you can't teach one to feel empathy, then how can we fix the lack of empathy? It is so simple and so obvious that we have all missed the answer.

We can all take a vow to stop doing just for ourselves, listen to those around us and start caring about what happens to them.

Hey, what can it hurt?

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