The Importance Of Practicing Compassion
We live in anxious times. It’s become a daily reminder that the threat of a mass shooting is a distinct possibility in our society. We have an immigration crisis continuing to develop at our country’s borders. “Climate anxiety” is an actual term. With our political landscape seemingly hell-bent on raising stress as a tool for success, it’s no wonder that 40% of Americans claim to feel more anxious than a year ago. As with most positive traits, they typically are strengthened by becoming practicing habits. To curb our increasing societal anxieties, it seems that a collective habit of empathy is in due need.
Merriam-Webster defines empathy as, “the action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experience of another.”. Our capacity for empathy can essentially know no-bounds, but that capacity is completely contingent on our PRACTICING of empathy. It’s easy for our cognitive dissonance to take over. We can all at times be guilty of a cognitive bias, dehumanizing or blaming victims, or not seeing ourselves as part of the greater universe. It’s easy to believe these negative things are happening in the world because those it is affecting are somehow deserving, because the world is a fair place. Consciously, we know that is not true.
What we need to do as a society, as humans, is consciously work towards the habits of empathy and compassion. Growing up in a capitalist society, we grow to believe everyone has earned their share of the pie. What we don’t often consider is that our starting points and our resources are greatly skewed. Poverty is not something anyone deserves. Access to healthcare is not something only deserved by those with the right job. We need to actively seek to lift up our fellow neighbors, to intentionally ask, “How can I help you?”.
We don’t need to surround ourselves with this type of anxiousness. We’re all in this together. As we start each day, we can set our intentions to be the best global citizens we can be. Whether it’s a company realizing they owe it to their communities to be a brand of purpose, or just a person seeking to get involved to make the world a better place, we can all play our part. Let’s not seek to point blame for the problems. Let’s start to seek how to solve the problems. We’ll all be less anxious in the end.
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