Empathy is essential in relationships

Najiah Osborne

To be a part of a world where love is the norm is to live in a perfect world. But what is empathy? Empathy is stated to be the ability to understand another person from their perspective. We all hold the ability to have empathy, especially when someone we love is in need of emotional support. 

There are different ways in which we express empathy. There’s emotional, cognitive, and compassionate empathy.

“Emotional empathy is when you feel something because someone else does. Cognitive empathy is the action of you placing yourself in someone else’s shoes. Lastly, compassionate empathy is followed by action when you witness someone in need,” according to YourDictionary.

With the many things going on around the world today, it is crucial that we practice empathetic behaviors and self-care. When you’re able to take care of yourself you often find it easier to help someone else. 

In a capitalistic society where everyone fends for themselves, cultivating empathy and care for others can be difficult. I’m not saying that you should drop everything that goes on in your life for an entirely different human being. However, being empathetic to someone’s issues can deepen the bonds you have with other people. We all wish to be closer to the ones we love. Life is too short for conflict, and hate spreads rapidly. 

According to ABC News, “Donald Trump’s inflammatory rhetoric around the coronavirus, has caused Asian-American hate to spike across the nation,” xenophobia is not new. Due to the spike in cases of the coronavirus, Trump is one of many people that has been spreading hate and making false claims about the virus which has been encouraging xenophobia. 

I feel the loss, pain and mourning of those who’ve passed from the virus. I cannot imagine contracting the virus or let alone losing someone I love to the virus. Practice self-care, and wear your mask.

How can I practice empathy? Imagine having to close down your business because of false claims and discrimination. Support Asian businesses, and promote their businesses. That could be someone’s only source of income, and when that’s all gone, what happens then? Steer away from poverty, you wouldn’t want to lose your job, would you? Step outside of yourself, you will be surprised at what you learn. 

Having empathy will positively impact and influence the students here at Augustana College. Your experience here at Augie is important, and if you want to build deeper bonds with those around you, practicing empathy and self-care is a great start. Bill Lavorone, the director of counseling, believes that developing empathy is very important at Augustana.

“[Empathy] is fundamental to the student experience here at Augustana. I think people need to put themselves in another person’s shoes, otherwise, bonds begin to break,” Lavorone said. 

Empathy is also essential to campus-wide relationships.

“Being empathetic is crucial when it comes to building relationships, whether it be students, staff, or professors,” Lavorone said. 

Phoenix Agyepong expands on this notion by expressing their appreciation of empathetic people.

 “I can appreciate the automatic level of trust that you get with empathetic people because it’s not about being right or wrong, it’s about helping someone you know is in need of a friend.,” Agyepong said.

Being a student in college, you’ll grow in many different ways. You’ll find that drama is the least of your problems, and you will find that life is valuable. Cherish your loved ones and build support systems. You will learn so much from thinking outside of your box, be the change you want to see, don’t hide in the dark.