Empathy is peering into the soul of another person and knowing their joy or agony through a quick look in their eyes. Empathy understands with or without similar experience what someone is feeling. Empathy resembles an opportunity: the opportunity to explain to those who can’t relate to an exact situation, but have felt the same emotion and the weight that emotion brings.

This world could use more empathy. In America, we live in an individualistic culture. We look out for our family and ourselves. We criticize each other in effort to avoid our own shortcomings. In this whirlwind of knee-jerk reaction, we miss out on getting to know humanity. Because we are too busy finding the faults instead of understanding the struggles that led to the faults.

My purpose in this world is to be empathetic. I’ve spent 22 years listening to those around me and learning through taking on others emotions as my own. While it can be a painful existence living through the heartache of others, it provides a sense of perspective and dissolves judgement.

We forget that people come from different backgrounds, but most of us want the same thing. We want a sense of purpose, we want relationships that fulfill our need for compassion and we want people to understand us. How many times have you been afraid to speak up for something you believe in because you’re afraid of being wrong or judged? How many times have you judged someone because you didn’t attempt to understand what they are saying and why they are saying it?

We’re only human. We need to remember that we’re individuals, but no one can control where or how they were born. Everyone has baggage that they are trying to come to terms with. Fear is present in our every day society, but fear could calm itself if we approached it with empathy instead of anger. We could conquer fear if we approached each other with empathy and understanding. We will never fully understand other cultures, environments or people, but we can start with feeling their emotion. What makes you and I afraid can be a separate thing, but the fact that we both understand fear means we can both understand each other.

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