The need for
empathy in a difficult world
I receive hundreds of emails a day, some, more
valuable and appropriate then others.
sent me one yesterday that I believe is one of those gems I must share with you
and gave me the theme for this week’s article. The email was titled “Anyway”
and didn’t have the name of whoever wrote it. I will share it with you anyway.
People are unreasonable, illogical, and self-centered.
Love them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish ulterior motives.
Be kind anyway.
If you are successful, you will win some false friends and true enemies.
The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow.
Be good anyway.
Honesty and frankness will make you vulnerable.
Be honest and frank anyway.
What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight.
People need help but will attack you if you help them.
Help them anyway.
In the final analysis, it is between you, your conscious and what you believe
It was never between you and them anyway.
This is so true. I have sent it to many of my friends and
even some that don’t ever write back, wrote me agreeing with it or thanking me
for sending it to them.
Every single day I find examples of people that do what
this email says. In fact, one recent example that involves a reader of the
Puerto Rico Daily Sun serves as proof that there are many good people out
I wrote in a past column that times are tough and that
people have to adapt to circumstances and do things that they have never done
in the past. I mentioned the case of an employee of a company, a client of mine
that had seen his overtime pay reduced quite a bit and with a 90.00 dollars a
week gasoline bill and making minimum wage, he simply couldn’t make it. I wrote
that he was going to ask permission for him to park the car every night in the
company’s parking lot and live in his car from Monday to Friday and then go
home on weekends. That way, he wouldn’t spend so much money on gas.
Well, lo and behold, I was contacted by a dear reader and
Facebook friend whose initials are K.L. to ask me for the name of the employee
and wrote him a check for 50.00.
The nice lady doesn’t know this man and yet she is so
touched by what he is going through, that she sends him some money. That is an
example of empathy.
When I gave the employee the check, his eyes swelled up
and simply couldn’t believe it.
Recent discoveries in brain science and child development
are forcing the scientific community to rethink the long held belief that human
beings by nature, are selfish, aggressive and materialistic. Realizing now that
we might be the opposite, empathic at the core, has profound and far reaching
consequences for the way we educate our children and for society in general.
I think that it is critical to resolve the
empathy/destruction paradox in order for our species to be able to survive and
thrive in this complicated planet we live in.
Although life as it’s lived day to day is sprinkled with
suffering, stress, injustices, crimes, and what we call foul play, it is for
the most part lived out in thousands of small acts of kindness, altruism,
benevolence, goodness and magnanimity.
Good relationships and compassion between people create
goodwill, establishes strong chains of society and gives happiness to people’s
We can define empathy as the mental process by which one
person places himself or herself into another’s being and comes to know how
they feel and think. The “pathy” in
empathy means that we enter into the emotional state of another’s suffering and
feel his or her pain as if it were our own.
We all know that unemployment is at an all-time high;
people are still losing jobs, possessions and in many cases, even losing their
My next door neighbor got his car repossessed and also
lost his home. Feeling very sorry for him and his family, I gave him my second
car which I rarely used.
Every economy since the beginning of mankind turns around
sooner or later. Everything is in cycles and no matter how bad things are, for
some, things are great.
If gas prices are high, economy cars are sold much more
than gas guzzlers. If people don’t send their clothes to the cleaners as often
as before, coin laundry’s do much better.
If brand name products sell less, generics sell more.
If people are demotivated, professional motivators such as
myself are doing very well in this tough economy.
If people are out of jobs, schools, universities and trade
schools will do great because people will need more education.
Whenever there is a loser, there will be a winner; it is
as simple as that.
What we need now is for people that are winning, to be
empathic with those that are losing.
If some people are going to get fired from a company,
maybe you can become a leader and suggest that you are willing to take a 5% cut
in your pay, encourage others to do the same and save some jobs.
Look for ways to help people that are not doing as well as
you are doing. If at the present time you can’t help financially, at least give
people your smile, a pat in the back or some words of comfort. Give them a book
or some free advice on how to be more effective in making some money or in how
to survive tough times.
In order for us to survive in this world, empathy must