Choosing Empathy

Of the things in life, your choices are amongst the many that define you; yet choosing is not a private activity but also a social one.

The chiseling, the carving out through our decisions. is what defines who we are. We are sculptors, finding ourselves in the evolution of choosing, not merely in the results of choices.*

We are always aware of the intentions behind our own actions and feel justified with the choices that we make; but others only react to what they see.

True. Others may not have the subjectivity that you poses when judging your actions as appropriate or not. But this doesn’t mean that people judge our actions in the vacuum of objectivity. Quite to the contrary actually. Why? Because of our inclination towards empathy.

Empathy originates from the Ancient Greek word ‘empatheia’, which means “physical affection, passion, partiality”. In modern context, empathy is the capacity to understand or feel what another person is experiencing from within the other person’s frame of reference.

Empathizing is an active choice that we make, otherwise often we are too quick in judging; reacting only to what we see instead of trying to understand the intentions behind a persons actions.

Choosing empathy allows us to extend the same respect to others as we do to ourselves. After all hasn’t the golden rule always been: do unto others as you would have them do unto you? So why not start with empathy?

My inspiration to synthesize this piece came from Sheena Iyengar’s Book: The Art of Choosing

*Quotes from the Book

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