Understanding one’s self spurs empathy, the key to being a better human

Will Enberg

We are complicated beings. Instilled deep within our minds is this sense of consciousness that we have no explanation for. Despite the recognition of our cognizance, we can neither understand nor observe its existence. It is just there, functioning in each of our brains and prompting us towards various thoughts. It is for this reason that we all perceive the world separately, through our own lens. We are individuals, and thus, think individually. By this, it is inferred that we can only think for ourselves exclusively. Though we are incapable of physically accessing another’s complex psyche, we can still fathom the human condition on account of our own comprehension of the self. It is through the knowledge of ourselves that we can develop an understanding of another and become empathetic.

To understand someone’s experience of the world, we must be in tune with our own. As simple as it may sound, we all experience life. We all move through this incredibly intricate scenario that we call our existence. We are all subject to pain, suffering, happiness, love and death. We all live life, but we all perceive it differently. Of course, our perception of the world is varied; some have the ability to comprehend situations impacting the self that others may be blind to. However, no one is expected to understand our existence, for we can only envision the world for how we see it, thus, our version of reality is in essence, the only form we can mentally comprehend.

With all other versions of reality consisting of other people’s renditions, there can really be no true universal way of perceiving the world.

Some may naturally bear an awareness for the human condition and may therefore have a better understanding of another’s perspective, and thus, emotions. However, possessing empathy is challenging; it is easy to live in ignorance, distant from the sentiments of others. Just as some may be better able to comprehend someone else’s life, others cannot, and are trapped in their own selfish ways of thinking. Those who are self-absorbed, those who are too caught up in their own frame of mind, those who do not care about the impact they may have on others, those are the people who do not truly understand themselves. For if they knew themselves, they would be aware of their ignorance.

Not all of those who express this characteristic of selfishness do so by choice. Some, genuinely, are unaware of their egotism because they simply cannot recognize the embedded aspect of their personality. There are those who absolutely have a more challenging time facing the inner parts of their character.

Part of really recognizing yourself and who you are includes digging into painful emotions. Though the emotions you feel that drive your positivity should not be pushed aside, it is the negativity, the sadness, which takes ability and determination to single out, and bring to the surface.

The awareness of the painful emotions that plague others is useful in obtaining empathy because it allows for consideration and respect. If you are acutely mindful of the things that bring pain to others, adaptation of character is possible. Mindfulness is straightforward, you can be a better person around others if you know how to behave and carry yourself in a way that makes people happy, rather than making them sad.

Empathy is a particularly special attribute to attain, primarily because it makes the world easier. People who have no regard for others simply make existing more of a challenge. Those who can bring themselves to a level of understanding, who can take time and contemplate how their actions may affect someone else is an admirable trait.

We are all in this world together, and we are only here for so long. It simply doesn’t make sense to make life more complicated for others.