Empathy I

You say it’s innate. We either have it or we don’t. Like a personality trait you can own and admire in others.

Others say it’s learnt. The capacity is innate, in all of us, and in fact just believing it’s learnable will impact how effectively you demonstrate it when the stretch is a little further. A little harder.

You can walk in another’s shoes. See from another’s perspective. Use your imagination to understand how the world looks, feels, lands for that person, over there. What wonder. What richness.

Your sympathy and “sorry for” feelings; your identifying with similarities; self-indulgently hold no strength when it comes your ability to express empathy.

It builds bridges that don’t need crossing. The bridge itself is enough. The attempt to build the bridge is enough. The belief there can be a bridge is…

Empathy opens, connects, warms. Empathy is sharp, it wounds, it can hurt. Ready or not, here it comes.

I’m wondering how you are and knowing enough to see, and when it’s painful I feel it. Even though I don’t want to. I search for the switch. What’s learnt and can be un-learnt.

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