How Do I Use Empathy to Combat Shame and Foster Charity? Journal Prompt, 4/2/23

How Do I Use Empathy to Combat Shame and Foster Charity?

Throughout this last month, I’ve been feeling somewhat anxious because of family situations and depressed because I’m rather lonely. It’s been rather overwhelming when coupled with my work, calling in church, and everyday dissatisfaction with “unmet” goals and expectations.

Sometimes it’s rather easy to get so caught up in everyday problems life loses a bit of its beauty and color. Like, getting in a rut in the mind with grey tinted glasses.

Yesterday evening, a commercial came on for a man and his family living in Pakistan. It caught my attention almost immediately. The man and his sisters lived with varying deformities and in squalid conditions. Though the video pointed out things had gotten better for him and his family, I was shocked to see how happy he was with so little compared to most people I know.

Unable to walk, he still worked everyday to support himself and his loved ones and had a happier outlook on life. His sisters couldn’t walk either, but were happy with the new blessings they had in their life. They now had a cow and goat, a house with a roof, various amenities like electricity, running water, and plumbing, and a better wagon to use for his work.

The immediate feeling that prevailed me while watching this video was SHAME. I felt ashamed feeling as down as I was looking at this man and his family’s hardships and gracious attitude toward life. He would most likely view my life and circumstances with brighter, wide eyes.

But, when I found myself spiraling down this rabbit hole of shame, I took a breath and paused. My shame would not heal his circumstances, nor the hardships so many other in this world face. Shame would only harm me and keep me from moving forward.

So I took a step backward and thought about EMPATHY. Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another. I’d say this also means sharing in another’s hardships with compassion and understanding. This includes ourselves.

With Empathy, I believe it is much easier to apply and understand Charity. Charity is the pure love of Christ, and it means loving others with eyes wide open to their needs, hardships, and beings. It is the highest, noblest, and strongest kind of love and the most joyous to the soul because it requires sacrifice and heartfelt change on our part.

In my life, I hope I can foster this type of love rather than wallow in shame for the things I don’t have in my life or for all my faults and imperfections. Love is a wonderful, beautiful thing and I hope in time I can grow to love others in a higher, holier way.

Hope you all have a wonderful Sunday, especially as Easter comes upon us!


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