Empathy Essay

979 words - 4 pages

Currently, people seem to have many things to care about. Children care about which computer games they are going to play, what they will watch on TV, or what grades they are going to get in school. College students care about how they will have time for school and enough time for a social life, which style of jeans they are going to wear, and whom they are going to date. "White-collar" people care about whether the stock market is going to crash on another black Monday, when their next promotion is going to happen, and where their summer holidays are going to be. Many, many people focus on the big things, including their careers, their money, and their hobbies. It seems that little time is left to care about others who may be feeling down. How many people stop focusing on their own lives, for just a few hours, to help the disabled, the poor, the hungry and the homeless? How many people give their time or even a thought to the elderly that have been sent to nursing homes and forgotten? Very few people can say that they give their time and effort freely to others who need it. This is a fact that is not surprising. People today quite often seem to focus only on developing their own minds, chasing down success or keeping up with the Joneses. In today?s age, it seems that people have neglected to develop empathy. Empathy is defined as the action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to others? feelings, thoughts and experiences. This is very important not only to ourselves, but also to our society as a whole.The big difference between the word "empathy" and its synonym, "awareness," is that sympathy is incorporated into the meaning of the word "empathy.? Someone may be aware that a friend is feeling lonely or that a colleague is getting a divorce. However, they simply keep those facts in the back of their mind. They are too busy to spend an afternoon with a lonely friend watching movies together. There are more pressing things than to share a cup of coffee and listen to a colleague's troubles in marriage or just to spend time with them and keep them company. Lack of awareness is rarely a feasible excuse as most are well informed. They just feel they do not have time to invest in other people. For a person to not even attempt to show compassion or concern or to try to put themselves in another person?s shoes demonstrates that they are exhibiting a lack of empathy.Empathy is one step higher in terms of emotional development compared to awareness.Empathetic people are those who express their feelings towards another person?s problems with sympathy and understanding. For example, there was a young woman who immigrated to the United States from Vietnam to go to school. She had no friends or relatives in the United States to talk to and she suffered a great deal from homesickness. As a result, she would...

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