Working Through Pain to Practice Empathy

It’s moments like these where I try to embrace the diversion in my plan.

This week, I had planned on posting about work ethic – the importance of having a good work ethic, how to build a strong work ethic, and how it all ties into running. But, that’s boring. And there’s a bigger issue to address today and in our world.

Where has our empathy gone? I’m saddened and distressed these days when I get on Facebook and see the political garbage and taunting of one another. Just this morning, I was scrolling down my feed and saw a status by someone, who I haven’t spoken to in years, blatantly outing his girlfriend and watched as others commented on the status and echoed his hurtful words.

It is that lack of empathy that cultivates and breeds negativity and hurt and makes this world a lot less enjoyable.

I’m going to gush about Maria Popova again. She writes on empathy in this post and says:

“Compassion,” Karen Armstrong wrote in her stirring meditation on the true meaning of the Golden Rule,“asks us to look into our own hearts, discover what gives us pain, and then refuse, under any circumstance whatsoever, to inflict that pain on anybody else.” But when our own hearts are gripped with the threat and terror of imminent pain, how can we step outside this fear-fraught circumstance and consider, with kindness and openhearted goodwill, the reality of another?

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If you skipped that paragraph please, please read it. And then reread it.

I’m sure you’ve been in situations where you’ve been hurt and in turn hurt another. And, I’m sure you’ve been on the receiving end of that, as well.

Practicing empathy when we’re in pain is really hard, but does that mean we don’t try?

Seth Godin posted a blog post the other day that is pointed, succinct, and addresses empathy. And, it’s spot on.

He says:

If you believed what he believes, you’d do precisely what he’s doing.

Think about that for a second. People act based on the way they see the world. Every single time.

Understanding someone else’s story is hard, a job that’s never complete, but it’s worth the effort.

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Stepping outside of our wants, needs, and fears and attempting to emotionally understand and relate to another person isn’t easy. Empathy isn’t easy. But, imagine a world where we all tried a little harder?

Because I am different than you does not mean that we can’t work on understanding each other. With a little more compassion, love, and selflessness we can work on building empathy and creating a better world.

 

 

So, that’s your challenge for the week. Practice empathy, even if it’s only once with one person. If we all do that, maybe, just maybe, we can work towards creating a better more beautiful world.

That’s all I got. Oh yeah, and keep running, my friends.

 

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I overcame an eating disorder, anxiety, and depression with the help of this wonderfully amazing thing called running. And that's why I'm here - to share my story and to help those who are going through what I've already gone through. On this blog you'll find running tips, mental health tips, and lots of joy. Join me as we piece life together one run at a time.

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