Empathy – Is There A Cost?

Heartfulness Editor

For more than 5 years, my younger brother has been suffering from psoriasis, a skin disorder causing red, scaly patches that can crack and bleed. When he first contracted it, we rushed him to several doctors but scant knowledge about the disorder made the scenario even more dire. The disease spread rapidly, very soon taking over his whole body; even his face was not spared. At the sensitive age of 17 years, you can imagine how his blighted body was affecting his psyche!

As if that were not enough, he contracted the dengue virus, leaving him weak with constant fever and pallid beyond recognition. A young lad who was somehow managing to face the world with a disfigured face had now completely given up. At first, he would cry but gradually he became withdrawn. Without a doubt, it was the most challenging time for him and, for us, a horrible period of worry and despair over his physical and mental health.

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Every day, my mom would almost breakdown seeing her son in this severe state. The mental distress was more taxing than the physical damage. However, she never showed her anguish in front of him and continued showering him with love and care day after day. She remained stoic and gave my brother the strength and vitality to carry on that made him believe in himself. This was empathy at work in its truest form.

Being Empathetic Costs Nothing but Love

It’s the unrelenting love from your loved ones that makes you heal faster. The gravest of diseases can be beaten with selfless love and empathy. Be it singing lullabies or feeding him with her hands, her acts of love and support transcended the suffering that afflicted him. Naturally, seeing him beginning to heal had a profound effect on the rest of us too.

The power of empathy can do wonders, and yet we don’t utilize it as often as we could. When I witnessed the purest form of love blossoming in front of my eyes, I realized that empathy is all about connecting, listening and loving from the heart. When we feel the other person’s feelings with our heart, we become compassionate. Who doesn’t experience turbulent times? Who doesn’t lose patience? Who doesn’t pray for things to be normal again in their life? Someone’s agony can be transformed into good vibes by that one small step of empathy you take. Being empathetic costs nothing but love.

Time to Think, Learn and Act

When we walk in the shoes of others, we feel what they feel. We open our hearts with compassion, to see different viewpoints and make a positive transformation. We have all arrived here via different past experiences, cultures, upbringing, lifestyles, geography and mindsets. There is much to realize, and it’s time to think, learn and act. It’s time to respect each other.

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Today, my brother has a good handle on his life and doesn’t feel bad about being seen with those red patches. The scars have reduced considerably, both inside and outside, because of the big dose of love and courage from our mother. The power of empathy strengthens relationships like no other.