How are you all on this Tuesday? I hope the weekend was kind to you, all. My family and I had a nice relaxing weekend, celebrating the hubby’s birthday. I don’t feel like getting into that though, because I have a lot on my mind, and I need to get it out.
Today’s post was originally going to be a different topic. I was going to showcase every day people in my life, who have inspired me. I was psyched to write about the every day people I’m my life that are amazing. They have more of an impact than celebrities, let’s say, donating money to a charity(because let’s face it, that’s not so extraordinary. Lot’s of famous people do it. While it’s wonderful, and you should continue, it’s not mind-blowing). These friends and family of mine are doing something positive and incredible with their lives: it doesn’t have to be grand. Inspiration comes in the simplest of ways. That post will come, as it is important, but this topic has been weighing heavily on my mind: ever since Parents/Teachers Conferences, a few weeks ago. It was something my daughter’s teacher said to me, about my daughter and her how mature she is, when it comes to empathy. I first recognized it, four years ago, when she was five years old. I was watching the movie, Jane Eyre(the Michael Fassbender version, naturally), and she wanted to sit and watch it with me. When it was done, she wanted to watch it, again. We didn’t: I saved it for another day. Later on that night, she started asking me questions about the movie, and the behaviors of certain characters. I was blown away: not just that a five year old who sit and watch this movie, but that she could feel what these characters were feeling. Then, it struck me hard again, as my family and I once again were watching movies this weekend, and my daughter got emotional and started to cry. She had just witnessed something terribly sad, and she was feeling what the other characters were feeling.
Before I get into the heart of my post, I want to give you an example of empathy, at it’s finest. This weekend, my siblings and I were having a group text chat. One of my sisters was reflecting and acknowledging on how we(there are four of us), are able to support each other even when it is uncomfortable. We are open, honest and real. She went on to say, that our dad was/is, remarkable for setting this example. He grew up the youngest of four brothers, with a father who, for lack of a better word, was insensitive. We look at our father now, and even when he was “tough“(I got the brunt of it, being the oldest), he was real, open , emotional and honest. He is the most generous person I know: always willing to lend a helping hand to those who need it. His arms are always open. Another sister of mine, went on to say that she attributes what makes her a thoughtful, deliberate, accountable, and self-owning person, to the way our father raised us. All of it true, and then some.
According to Wikipedia, the definition of Empathy is this: the capacity to understand or feel what another person is experiencing from within the other being’s frame of reference. Seeing with the eyes of another, listening with the ears of another, and feeling with the “heart” of another.
A plaque my mother gave to my daughter, a few months ago.
There was a time that my daughter couldn’t express any words: you all know this, as I have documented it a few times. I used to refer to her behavior, as though she was “living in a bubble.” Now, I hear her speak words of wisdom, that most adults haven’t even comprehended. When she talks about bullies, and friends, and her overwhelming desire to help others that are less fortunate than hers. She understands that there are others, outside of her own world, that need help and people to care about them and to support them.
I am a writer by nature, so I am constantly watching and observing people. I can’t help it. I have noticed a pattern, that confuses and saddens me. People are accepting of empathy when others in their own circle of friends/family, express it, even when their favorite celebrity expresses it: but outside of that, it is frowned upon, sometimes made fun of. I have even seen others get so angry over it. WHY? To me, that kind of attitude belongs in a Sweet Valley High book, or an episode of 90210.Clichy if you ask me. Everyone else, is to remain quiet or agree with your notion? Only your favorite celebrity is right when they speak, no one else? I scratch my head, sometimes at the hypocrisy that I witness.
You see: just because a friend or family member isn’t discussing it with you, doesn’t mean it is not happening to them.
I used to write that I was afraid to tell my stories, because I was afraid that I would be judged, in some sort of way.
There is so much that I held inside, and continue to do so. There were so many days and nights that I cried, and locked myself away from the world. Who could I talk to? Would people still be my friends? Would family shun me away?
Well, that is going to happen regardless, but then I dug deeper and I realized that wasn’t the only reason I wasn’t sharing them: I needed the right medium. I have finally found it, and hopefully by the end of this year, others can benefit, heal, and grow from them, too.
My family is a mixed raced family. I have two children, both with Special Needs. I have been victim of some heinous acts and I am still here. There is a long laundry list of things I could say: but I will not bore you with that, today. I am aware that not everyone gets and realizes the opportunities that I have been given. Heck, I didn’t understand it, until my daughter was born, and that’s why I will always say, giving birth to her, saved my life. Now, I hear her speak, or I witness her actions(such as running for 4th Grade VP, and using Anti-Bullying as her campaign message), and I am completely blown away.
I was once a person who didn’t care too much for anything else that was not going on outside of my little world. I had a lot of negative attitudes about a lot of things, and I felt sorry for myself, constantly.
The world is smaller than you think. If you don’t think that other people’s issues and concerns don’t affect you, then you are “living in a bubble” and it’s not because you don’t know how to get out of it, such as was my daughter’s case: it’s because you choose to put yourself there.
My daughter has been bullied a few times already, because she is different. My son has been ridiculed for his hand stimming, a couple of times already. He has even been made fun of, because of his intelligence. Never mind, what my hubby and I have been through, married, and before we met each other. Yet…we still feel the need to express EMPATHY towards others. Everyone is going through something and needs that help, support and reassurance.
Our life is not easy, but we do alright. We don’t have a big house. Heck, we are a single car, family. While my husband has a good salary, we are still need to “live within our means” and budget everything. We are a one income family. That doesn’t matter, though. When my children are receiving certificates for their Acts of Kindness, Responsibility and Caring: I can rest my head, easy at night. That other stuff, doesn’t matter.
The world is tough to begin with, and to discourage people from caring about causes that mean something to them, is in my opinion: heartless and ignorant. Doesn’t mean you have to care about every single thing: but if you don’t, kindly keep your mouth shut, and let those people do what they feel they need to do. If they are not hurting anyone, let them march. Let them protest. Let them say what they feel they need to say or do, to make this world a little more empathetic.
Deep down inside, I knew this where I needed to be: helping others. I have known it for a few years now, but I got sidetracked. I’m completely focused, now. I wrote about it last week in a blog post, and I have begun on my journey to find my niche so that I can better achieve that.
You never know in your life when you might be placed in a situation you never thought possible, or that you thought could never apply to you or your loved ones.
Trust me on this one. Life changes in an instant.
LEAVE THIS BLOG POST WITH ONE WORD AND ONE THOUGHT: EMPATHY.
Thank you for your time.
That’s all folks.
Remember to love one another, and to live and laugh.