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The Global Educator, by Julie Lindsay

I think empathy is absolutely essential for interpersonal and international relationships.

I also think that people don’t often take empathy deep enough. They may often interpret it as “If I was in that person’s situation….” when it should be “If I were that person, if I had to grow up like them and experience every little thing they did….” Because if you are only imagining yourself in another person’s situation while omitting their experiences you are still applying your own perspective to the situation, when you should be trying your hardest to see the other person’s perspective.

 

I also think that people often masquerade their selfishness as empathy. For example, when natural disasters occur or when people are suffering, no one decides to help out until it benefits them. For instance, recently, many headlines have been featuring the hurricanes down in South America and by Puerto Rico. Articles say things such as “Hurricane Irma causes big drops in Collier County’s tourism numbers” and “we should help the Puerto Ricans because they are American citizens and if they go down it will bring the country down”.

In truth, we need to help hurricane Irma victims because they are human beings that deserve to be saved regardless of if they help the economy or not and regardless of if they were American citizens or not.

People think that saying “we need to help Irma victims or the economy could be in bad shape” is empathy, when in reality, it is just thinly veiled selfishness.

 

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