“Real empathy is sometimes not insisting that it will be okay, but acknowledging that is is not”Sheryl Sandberg
Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another. More often than not, this is confused with sympathy, which is feelings of pity and sorrow for someone else’s misfortune. Seeing a beggar on the street and feeling bad- that is sympathy. Realizing that both you and your friend recently scored poorly on a test and are having fights at home, and bonding over this shared pain- that’s empathy. So does that mean that you cannot feel empathy if you are not going through it yourself? No. Finding out that your friend feels alone and sad, and listening to them talk about it without judging them would be another example of empathy.
Empathy is a huge topic of discussion in today’s world, and it is also considered a desirable trait to have. It is also a trait that today’s world needs. Quite recently I encountered a platform with an abundance of empathy. 7 Cups of Tea is a platform where people can anonymously talk about their worries and concerns with a volunteering listener who could be anyone from around the globe. It provides complete privacy and allows people to be there for each other and seek help. Around a year ago, when I wasn’t aware that such a platform exists, I, myself, wanted to create a platform for people to be able to talk to volunteers and professionals and share their worries and concerns. Now that I have found this platform, I try and devote as much time as possible to talking to people and listening to their worries. If I can bring one smile on a face in one day, that thought alone gives me enough confirmation that my breaths aren’t a waste and I am doing my part to make this world a kinder home to every individual.
Everyone on this planet has been given a chance to make a difference and make this world a better place. [Insert ‘Heal the World’ by Michael Jackson] Spreading love isn’t hard. It doesn’t take much energy either. A simple smile could make someone smile back. A genuine hug could make someone feel better. An ‘I’m proud of you’ for simple things like coming to school/work when they felt exhausted and mentally tired could go a long way. Little things can make someone’s day and they won’t even drain your energy. Choose love. Spread love. Give love. Receive love. Comparing traumas and worries isn’t the point- pain is pain. A little bit of kindness can make you feel better, the other feel better, and make this world a better place.
Mahatma Gandhi once said, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”
I stand by this. Everyone talks about spreading love and kindness and accepting everyone. So, here at NPSI, let’s act on this. Let’s use the fire burning within our souls and pour ourselves into making this world a better place for generations to come. A simple act of kindness could touch someone’s heart, just like a mean word could hurt someone. Let’s use this energy to be nice. Let’s, together, make our community, and then the world, a kinder and better place. Let’s show empathy to everyone, regardless of the size of their pain, and shower everyone with love, including ourselves because self-love is just as important as loving another.
We are all humans. We all bleed red, cry salty tears, have two eyes, one nose, two ears, one mouth, two lungs. We all have one heart. Every heart deserves respect regardless of color, religion, the clothes they wear, the way they talk or walk, or the way they look. Beauty exists everywhere. It exists within us. So, let’s be the source of light in another’s life and our own life. Let’s be empathetic and kind. Let’s choose love. Let’s spread love. Sometimes, those around us are in incredible pain and we don’t even know. Why’s that? Because they don’t know if anyone cares. The world has come to such where one rather suffer alone than share his/her worries. At NPSI, let’s change that. Let’s start a new legacy. Let’s be there for anyone and everyone who needs us. Empathy wins more hearts than money ever will.
We compete with our classmates during exams, senate elections, and so many other competitions, but we must remember that it isn’t the individual who wins. At the end of the day, love and empathy win. When we choose a house captain, head boy or any other senate member, we choose to spread love. We choose to show that we believe in them. When we congratulate a classmate on winning a prize, we choose to spread love. We choose to show that we are proud of them. Let’s leave empty compliments and jealousy behind. When someone wins, love wins, and that is just enough to make this world a better place.
If you love someone, tell them. If you miss someone, tell them. If you’re proud of someone, or thankful, or grateful for any reason at all, tell them. Because when we do so, we choose to love. We choose empathy. We choose kindness. They could be feeling lonely or down and a simple message like “I’m proud of you” or “I am thankful for you” could make them feel a little better. Dark clouds come. They block the sky. It rains. But the sun always comes out. Be the sun in someone’s life, the rainbow, not the dark clouds or the rain. Be the reason why someone smiles, not cries. These are my beliefs. This is what I stand for. I stand for real empathy, real kindness, real love, real emotions. Let us, the NPSI community, come together and stand for love, empathy, and kindness.