Yes, the world is in an unbelievable turmoil! Amidst all the disastrous news that writhes on the screens of our phones and televisions, day and night, still you may seem pretty comfortable right now on your own turf. At dawn, you get out of bed, pray and get some chores down, hit the bathroom and have yourself cleaned up- all done with no functional discomfort. And there are foods, too. You get some bites to munch, and off you are to work, to school, to wherever- while constantly fiddling with your smartphone, giggling, and just having such a good time- throughout the day- at work, at school.
Behold, life is just fairly good for you. Ain’t it?
Our daily activities have become such beautiful routines that despite a series of nagging issues that include the normal ups and downs of daily living, we are oblivion of even greater physical, psychological, spiritual and financial hardships that an unprecedented number of people, including our families, friends, neighbors, colleagues, coworkers, and associates are going through every single day, every single day- with such unimaginable pain. Until somebody faces a life-threatening and really traumatic event, they would never cherish the incredible worth of “normal” life, nor would they understand the significance of empathy– of genuine feeling for others who are in the woods.
Today, the world has now become a global school of hard knock where the love of people has grown stone-cold; a world of a mad race where everyone is running frantically to look after themselves- for survival and superiority. Ours is the world where it’s about “I”, rather than “We”. In short, this present era is marked by man’s emotional insensitivity to his brother’s pain and predicament- a culture of emotional incompetence that has made our world mostly chaotic, but seldom beautiful and livable.
Well, our world needs not be like this. We can go back to incorporating the timeless ideals, those values upon which our success and security depend- love, faithfulness, compassion, sympathy, fair play, tolerance and, loyalty, and most chief of all- EMPATHY, which, in my opinion, is the single greatest malady to some of chronic problems that face this planet.
Strikingly distinct from pity or sympathy, empathy is the ability to feel for others, to put oneself in another’s situation, including having a strong desire to care for other people and to help them with their unique circumstances. If there’s any novel revelation for me in the past fortnight, it is that, my own personal experiences in the same stretch of time have taught and taken me to a new level of knowledge about other people’s emotions, feelings, moods, and behaviors. It is important to have the capacity to bring our knowledge of people’s emotions and feelings into play when we are dealing with them. I could not see a more potent remedy to all ailments than *a single dose of empathy administered on “hurting persons”.
“For yours truly, It’s all that’s needed. It’s all I had. Empathy from families and friends was all that got me up and running again, after a pretty hard fall. But it is also what millions of people around the world are in desperate need of- friends and acquaintances, archrivals, our colleagues and associates, neighbors and nemeses- in their groans, in their pains, in their hardships, in their wards, who all need us to demonstrate not only our genuine concerns and interests into their traumatic affairs, but as well as our willingness to give nothing but our time – to sit with and to listen to them and let them know how much we share their pains, that we understand what it feels like to be unwell, to be afraid, to be depressed, to be sick, to be blind, to be deaf, to be disabled, to not have enough to eat.”
Experience matters. I have a pretty good bit of it. As a marvel as I consider my own struggling life to be, a single most important lesson that I have learned over the years is that regardless of our differences, there is a common denominator in our human experience- which is that we all want to be validated. We all want to love and be loved. We long, in times of tragedies and in moments of triumphs, for physical touch and heartfelt intimacy. We long for the unconditional love of others- a genuine expression of empathy.
As Nigerians, we share a lot as a people. On a wider scale, we share a lot as peoples, as world citizens. We can find hope in others, but we can be a great source of hope and relief to others. We can become much healthier and happier persons from expressing real-world empathy to others, as opposed to virtual (technology) fellow feeling. We can rid ourselves of self-absorbed, self-righteous and narcissistic behaviors, and embrace the enduring spirits of love, loyalty, faithfulness, togetherness and empathy, which I’m convinced are sure-fire ways to make our world a better place for everyone and everything that exists, and ever, ever will.
Now, don’t forget to show empathy to somebody this week, and always.
About the Author
My name is Raji Ade Oba. I have gone through many years of experiences, the likes that no one’s seen. Lol I do not mean to brag.
My philosophy is grounded on the belief that everyone has immense worth and capabilities, and in that light, we should be using our gifts and talents to change the lives of others, to giving back to the community. This is because that’s how we also find ourselves, and become much better persons, over time.
Apart from being a scholarly writer, I’m also privileged to write liberally on leadership, communication, and personal development.
I like to help people to realize their full potentials, so together we could make our world a better place.