Beyond Judgments: Embracing Empathy in a Diverse World



This is one of those days when I don't know exactly what to write about, but I go ahead and write something anyway.

There are a whole bunch of ideas that run around my mind sometimes, making me question existence and why we are all here.

Questions like: Why were we born in different countries and places around the world? How are the families we were born into decided? How are the experiences we were meant to face in our lives arranged? And questions about exactly what we are doing here?

It's not like it's the first time these kinds of questions have run across my mind, and I have, in the past, spent a great deal of time reading about some people's attempts to answer these questions while arriving at my own views. But the question still pops up once in a while.

I feel that a lot of people will never have the opportunity to experience what other humans may be experiencing. And they might even find it very difficult to understand what those people are going through.

For example, say someone was born in a war-torn country. They grew up knowing only the experiences of running, fighting, and surviving at all costs. A person who was born in a very secure country with a great economy and no war at the time would never be able to understand what it's like for the other person born in a war-torn country.

They might be able to show empathy, offer support, or feel sorry for the other kid, but the truth is that they will never be able to know what it feels like.

The same goes for, say, a child who was born not knowing his/her parents. Who probably found himself/herself in an orphan home. The kid grows up without knowing what love and support from two parents feel like and only knows those who he/she has grown up with as people he knows.

A kid that is privileged to have both parents see him/her through from childhood to adult life and even see both parents in old age may find it difficult to know what growing up without that sort of bond may feel like for the other kid.

People who were born with some disabilities, of no fault of their own, and have to live in this world with it may be misunderstood by those who were born not knowing any form of disability.

The whole idea of sharing these thoughts (because I clearly didn't know what to write about today) is that we cannot claim to understand other people completely because their experiences are different from ours. Neither can we understand how our lives are decided or what determines where or how we will be born or what experiences we will have.

And understanding that we may never have answers to those questions and would never have some experiences as others is a call for us to be more empathetic and cautious when we are relating with others who we know little about their lives and what they go through.

Some of us are too judgmental; we find it easy to label something as bad, evil, etc., without first making an attempt to properly understand it and look at the underlying circumstances surrounding what we often judge.

Some of us are privileged to have an amazing life, where it seems everything is working perfectly for us, and it blinds us to understand or feel the plight that others who aren't as privileged may be going through.

A lot of people who pass through unique and difficult lives often do not easily find motivation to talk about it because they are afraid of being judged by people who seem to have the 'best kind of lives'.

This fear many times is real and caused by the experiences such persons have had when they attempted to share their insecurities with people that couldn't understand it. Such persons often made light of their feelings or just treated it as though it's nothing because they couldn't relate in any way to it.

So the thing is, just be a nice, decent person. If someone opens up to you about an aspect of their lives that they struggle with, make an effort to listen to them. Don't claim to understand what they feel when you know you are privileged to never have such an experience. Just offer support and a listening ear when you can. That's all you can do to help such persons.

Acknowledge their feelings and acknowledge that it may be difficult for you to understand fully what's going on in their minds, but let them know you hear them, you see them, and you are willing to be there for them.

And for those who are facing some difficulty in their own lives, who sometimes feel like there is no one they can talk to who will understand them, those who are scared to share their deepest feelings with anyone else for fear of misinterpretation. I encourage you to still make the effort to speak out.

Yes, I understand people may make light of your experience or treat it like it doesn't matter, but the best chance you have at making the world a better place through your difficult experience is by sharing it. If some people make light of it, that's the worst they can do, and at least you know what kind of persons they are.

But you will always find some people who will listen, who will understand you, better still people who have been through similar situations and can actually relate to what you feel. Or if you can't find such people, finding ways to express yourself and destroy that fear of judgment will inspire others who might just be hoping that there's someone like you who understands how they truly feel. And your expression can inspire them.

If you're not comfortable with putting yourself and your experiences out, you can start out anonymously. You can share your experiences anonymously; there are tons of ways you can do that today. And whenever you feel comfortable, you can be yourself and perhaps start a community or organization supporting people who feel just like you.

This will give you the greatest sense of fulfillment, the best chance to connect with people who truly understand you, value you, and appreciate you. And your difficult experiences then would no longer be something you have to hide away from the world but rather something that carves a better path in the future where your experience becomes a shining light for those unborn persons who might, for no fault of their own, be in similar situations.

Then they have something to look up to and a story to inspire them still to have fulfilling and happy lives, rather than be stuck with the option of 'hiding it away', an option you courageously did not take!

I hope this article makes sense!

Be more empathetic, express yourself more, and keep winning!

Ike

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