Empathy in the World of Accomplishing

Bononos display consolation behavior which is a trait of empathy

How much do you make? Where do you live? What do you do? How many facebook friends do you have? The one thing all these questions have in common is they are solely about accomplishment. We live in a culture that puts emphasis on accomplishing. Success in life is determined by the house, the job, the family, the vacations….. Yet where has all this ‘success’ gotten us? A mere 33% of all Americans surveyed in 2017 said they were happy. And with a population of almost 326 million people living in America that comes to 218.14 million unhappy Americans. Wow! Currently the United States comes in #18 when it comes to happiness. We work more yet have one of the highest depression rates.

I have spent most of my life pretty much denying and walking away from any goal that society values. Granted I know now this has at times been detrimental to me, and as I get older I realize there can be great benefits in playing the game. This being said… seeing the game for what it is, is crucial to avoid the pitfalls of thinking the only way we are successful is by way of accomplishing.

The dictionary definition of success: a person or thing that achieves desired aims or attains prosperity

Oy vey—That is a limited definition of success! What if success means living with integrity? Being a good person? Having empathy and living as compassionately as possible?

In this moment I choose to redefine success as: Feeling empathy for all beings and living a life of compassion and integrity.

The dictionary defines these ideas this way:

Empathy: the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.

Compassion: a strong feeling of sympathy and sadness for other people’s suffering or bad luck and a desire to help

When we die, what of us will be remembered? Will it be how much money we made, or instead how we touched people? I believe the most important qualities in life are compassion, love, creativity and creating a better world (in addition to living with as much joy as possible). The main reason most of us humans focus on money, the career, the house, the blah blah blah…. you name it, is because society tells us this is what matters most. What if society told us the most important things were how much we cared about other beings, especially those that are different then us? Well, as a performer and activist I believe caring, empathy and compassion are vital to a ‘successful’ life.

And oh my, there are a gazillion reasons to care! The benefits of having empathy for humans, for all animals and for the planet are infinite. However, for the sake of space, time and magic, we are only going to focus on three benefits that happen when we are more empathic.

Three Powerful Benefits of Growing Your Empathy

We Become a More Patient, Understanding and Compassionate Person We humans spend so much time wondering what other people are thinking about US! How ridiculous! Most of the time nobody is even thinking about us (except us of course, we never stop thinking about ourselves).  As we develop empathy we naturally become open and curious, and become better listeners. Our relationships improve. ALL our relationships improve! We start to take genuine interest in the beings around us… be they the birds in our yard or our partner in our house.

We Become Extra Likeable, Attractive and Successful Let’s face it…. Nobody likes hanging out with someone who never stops talking and doesn’t seem to ever listen. Here is a powerful tip– You want someone to like you, listen! Be silent! Care! Ask good questions! Become a listener and everyone will want to talk to you. Give and help others and they will be knocking at your door.

Contribute to Creating a More Loving Peaceful World By living in a world that puts money and accomplishing as the greatest achievement, it is just too easy for greed to take over. When money is the bottom line and guiding principle, empathy falls by the waist side and selfishness and narcissism begin to grow roots. When we have empathy, we realize that every living being has needs, and while those needs might be different then us, we are all here together—we all want freedom. We care about those of different cultures, religions, gender or species.

I hope this brings you more understanding in the importance of empathy, and an interest in cultivating it.

In my next article I will discuss various ways to draw on our natural gifts and abilities, to develop more empathy and compassion.

Magical Empathic Blessings to You!