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Empathy and its Power Within Communities

Empathy is something that is so important for us to use and develop in our lives. It is so crucial and important for everyone to understand this because it helps to create that unity that we all should posses and consider in our lives, and everyday situations. I was able to listen to a very important Ted Talk presented by Daniel Goleman Why aren't we more compassionate? as well as read his book Focus: The Hidden Driver of Excellence.

“How does empathy affect the community?” I think that this inquiry question is so important because it shows how you can make a difference in your community, and that not only can you make a difference in your community but that it is so important for others to do within their community. Some people tend to be Empathetic without realizing they are or without realizing how much it impacts others. This corresponds with identities and relationships because empathy can help bring people together and can help identify the kindness that others have in them. This has also helped me learn a lot more about my global context in Identities and Relationships. It has taught me that even though we are all different we all are similar in some ways, this can contribute to our connectedness and developmental growth that is necessary. We can all connect with things like empathy. Realizing that there is a lack of empathy has encouraged me realize many ways to help make a change so that everyone can feel that sense of belonging, inclusivity, and support.

Emotional empathy helps join people in terms of sensitivity, so empathy is used a lot while dealing with team-work activities. When working in a community nothing can be accomplished by just one individual. In order to accomplish your goal to its full potential, working together is necessary. This is why it is necessary to decide to make time for empathy. Studies show that while wealthy people are less aware of others’ suffering, poorer people get closer with others and are more empathetic. When we experience pain, we learn compassion for others.

Strong emotional skills helps predict success better than IQ. One of my classes was structured around our IQ, this class allowed us to research and understand our strengths and weaknesses. In my IQ report it expressed “Empathy is the ability to understand another person’s perspective; it nurtures the strong relationships required for leading a successful life (personally, academically, and professionally)...These skills allow you to easily collaborate with other students. Leverage these skills to manage conflict, especially in student leadership roles.” This showing how it contributes to our collaboration skills, helping us with skills that will help manage conflict that will arise.

In Daniel Goleman's Ted Talk his main point was for us to question “Why is is that we have so many opportunities to help, we do sometimes, and we don't other times?” He mentioned a study that was done by students at Princeton University, where half of the students were given a topic on the Parable of The Good Samaritan- the man who helped the stranger in need by the side of the road. As these students were informed to go to another building to present their sermon. Each one of those students passed a man bent down and moaning. Not one of them stopped to help, eleven though they were on the way to present their sermon on The Good Samaritan. The thing that determined whether someone would stop to help was how much of a hurry they were in, or how absorbed they were on what they were going to talk about. He explains that this demonstrates the predicament in our lives. We don't take every opportunity to help because our focus is in the wrong direction. If we attend to another person we automatically empathize and feel with them, and if that person is in need and suffering we are automatically prepared to help. Why don't we? If we are preoccupied with ourselves, we don't fully notice each other. I encourage you to practice and focus on intentionally being a listener and empathetic towards others. For example if you are in a conversation with someone time how long it takes the person with whom you are talking to say the word “you”. The best way to make real contact with another person is to turn off all of your distractions and pay full attention to the person. The first step is understanding how important it is to realize how much there is for a lack of empathy and incorporate it into our lives.

If you are interested in learning more, I strongly encourage you to read Daniel Goleman's book as well as listen to his Ted Talk, Why aren't we more compassionate? as it may impact you differently and encourage you to take a deeper look.

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