IMAGINE Magazine-Spring2016 - Page 5

Loss of empathy might well be the most enduring and deepcutting scar of all, the silent blade of an unseen enemy, tearing at our hearts and stealing more than our strength. Stealing our will, for what are we without empathy? What manner of joy might we find in our lives if we cannot understand the joys and pains of those around us, if we cannot share in a greater community. - R.A. Salvatore, The Silent Blade to the challenges of others and makes them willing to put in the effort to make the world a better place? How can we foster a global society where people are motivated by empathy, mutual respect and interdependence rather than competition, individualism and nationalism? By consciously choosing to recognize, understand and empathize with the circumstances of other human beings, we begin to level the playing field for all people. This action sets the stage for trust, justice, and personal growth. Dr. Brené Brown, research professor at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work believes: “It is this empathetic connection to others that gives purpose to our lives… a way to be our better selves. Becoming a compassionate and empathetic human being starts with a desire to do so.” Empathy can begin with a simple conversation between two people, each willing to listen to the other, to be curious about the other’s circumstances. Pema Chodron, Buddhist teacher and author says, “We don’t set out to change the world. We set out to wonder how other people are doing!” Yet, it takes courage to be open and curious, to be vulnerable. “Vulnerability is the willingness to show up and do something without guarantees of the outcome,” claims Brown. By standing up and being courageous enough to be a listening ear, to bear witness, to be a willing advocate, or to provide an alternative opportunity, it is possible to create very different outcome for others. Brown goes on to say, ”With courage, love and empathy we humans can do anything!” By fine-tuning our sensitivity to all of humanity, we will undoubtedly IMAGINE l SPRING 2016 5