Hello. Good evening. Today, I want to share an article that I wrote over a year ago and the aftermath. The central theme is empathy. Not sympathy. Empathy: which is defined as “the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.” Enjoy!
On the 17th January 2017, I wrote a post where I shared my desire to have an increased capacity for empathy. Here it is:
CALL: Hello Ife, I feel really bad. I saw three of my test scores and they were quite bad. I don’t know what to do.
RESPONSE: Sola, don’t feel bad. Things are not as bad as you think they are. Honestly. When I was in 300 Level, there was one course like this that I had 9/30 in the CA, I still had an A in the course. Shebi your own scores are between 10 and 14. Haba. Don’t worry, I’m sure you will do well.
CALL: Tayo, I don’t really know how to put it, but I feel quite empty on the inside. I don’t have any thirst for things of God. Funny enough, it is not like I am sinning or something. I just feel like my spiritual gear is stuck in “neutral” and I don’t know what to do.
RESPONSE: Tade, the Bible says that “If you faint in the days of adversity, your strength is little” This is not the time to grow weary, my dear sister. This is the time to put on the whole armor of God. You are meant to be a mature Christian. Don’t allow the devil to destroy your faith and your testimony.
CALL: Ifeanyi… *sobs*… Ifeanyi… I lost the pregnancy. I can’t believe it. I can’t believe it.. *sobs*
RESPONSE: My dear sister Testimony, it is well. I am so sorry to hear this. Honestly. But one thing I am sure of is that God will surprise you with another baby. In fact, this time around, it will be twins. God will give you double for your trouble. Don’t worry at all. Don’t even feel bad. He will…Hello, Ifeanyi, are you still there?… It seems she cut the call. Ahnahn. She is not even appreciative of my encouragement.
IRE: One of the things I earnestly desire to increase is my ability to show empathy. Empathy is the capacity to understand or feel what another person is experiencing from the person’s perspective. In other words, it is the capacity to place oneself in another’s position.
There is nothing wrong in offering words of encouragement to someone. However, putting one’s self in the shoes of the person ensures that the words spoken are not mere words that come from the impulse to say something. Rather, that they are words that are true and heartfelt.
Well, one way God has been answering that prayer is through experiences. When you walk the path that others have walked or are walking, you get a better appreciation of why they act the way they do. For example, a medical doctor can understand the rigors and mental stress that medical school brings better than others.
When you experience some things, you share with your heart and your head (not your head alone) on those issues. For example, if you spend a day with 3 or 4 extra-active kids , you appreciate the efforts of children’s’ teachers at school or church. You also appreciate parents more!
You know what I am saying, right? Now, does empathy mean that we condone wrong deeds or substandard output? No, it doesn’t. What it does is that it gives us a better perspective and approach to overcoming challenges.
Summarily, I had a desire (as I wrote last year) and God is helping make it a reality. He is teaching me that “Experience breeds Empathy”