Tretar 14, Empathize

[This post is the fourteenth in an ongoing series for Project Tretar. You can read previous posts here]


In the times of most pain, I have looked around and taken strength from the people who know struggle and have embraced life on top of it. It is this empathy that makes you value life for what it is. Life is neither a fairyland nor a devil’s inferno – it is a journey touching upon both, swinging between the highs and lows; a journey whose reward is simply in living it without judging for good or bad.

One of my friends used to say that it is not the big setbacks or tragedies that break a man, it is the daily drudgery of life that weighs you down. It is this drudgery or our perception of it that needs to be changed. And your biggest contribution can be to reduce the burden of this drudgery on others. By understanding or caring for someone’s pain, you can make it lighter for both of you. When you have felt the pain yourself, you can identify it in the eyes of others.  You will come across the ones that will make you realize that yours wasn’t unprecedented. And that in your pain, you are united with million others, those who speak in silence.

And, I am not talking about someone suffering from a physical pain or malady, someone who has just hit a tragedy – no, I am talking about the everyday circumstances and life. Everyone is facing some pain point and is sad over something. Life is not easy for everyone but the struggles vary from manageable to more pressing. This sabziwalah in Chandni Chowk just worries about having enough to feed his family everyday.  There’s no need to be sympathetic towards another person but it takes a lot of understanding and sensitivity to  be compassionate. Perhaps this says it best-

We must learn to regard people less in the light of what they do or omit to do, and more in the light of what they sufferDietrich Bonhoeffer

I believe that empathy is the core of being a human and that one cannot truly love unless he can understand the pain of another person.

The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

P.S. Life is short. Make it count.

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