Empathy: A Lost Art?

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A few years ago, when I was in the first or second grade, a video of a pig trying to get some cookies had gone viral. The pig struggles endlessly and tries its absolute hardest to get the cookies but fails to do so in the end. It was a video titled “Ormie the Pig”. Despite it being a mere animation, it made six year old me cry so much that my mother had to console me eventually.

 (Video link:  https://youtu.be/NCwRBQ2n8NA )

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Now my parents showed me the video thinking that it was funny and that I would laugh at it as well, but who would’ve expected… I burst out in tears at the pig’s failure instead! A lot of adults saw the video and laughed at the funny attempts of the pig. Some people felt frustrated as they watched the video, and I can see why they felt so. Around me, the adults that watched the video found it comical and laughed after seeing it. But a lot of other children that saw the video also cried for the pig. Crying for someone else’s sake or feeling sympathy for someone else is what we call empathy. 

Empathy is defined as the ability to understand and share the feelings of another. It is a basic skill most humans have, albeit varying in amounts. It is commonly known as EQ or Emotional Quotient as well. It’s more of a part of EQ, but since it is the core, most people consider empathy as emotional intelligence. 

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Now empathy is essential for anybody to fit in and mingle with others, but sadly, people often become increasingly apathetic as they grow older. This is not to say that all adults are jaded and un-empathetic, but the wide majority of them happen to be so. Ask any adult around you to rate how empathetic the grown-ups around them are and they would probably struggle to rate them any higher than 5. Perhaps it is the harsh world and the experiences that one faces that determine the level of empathy one has later on. For example, if I had seen the video for the first time now, at 15, I might have felt bad for the pig, but I probably wouldn’t have cried unless I was feeling especially sensitive that day.

In fact, there are many studies to show the shifts in the levels of empathy of different age groups. One such study shows that the current consensus is that older adults have lower cognitive empathy than younger adults and children. Reduced empathy has also been associated with greater loneliness, depression, and poorer relationship satisfaction.

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Humans are social animals and have been since the dawn of mankind. To create new bonds and maintain relationships, empathy is vital. It is the link between ‘self’ and ‘other’. One can be empathetic towards anybody or anything. Towards the less fortunate, animals and even nature, as we cut down forests, face wildfires and endangered species etc.

All in all, empathy is the ability to emotionally understand what other people feel, see things from their point of view, and imagine yourself in their place. Essentially, it is putting yourself in someone else’s shoes and feeling what they might be feeling. In today’s world, this quality can be tough to find, given the increasing amount of insensitivity, but it is not completely gone just yet. We should try our best to be a little kinder and a little more empathetic, lest it becomes a lost art.

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None of the above images belong to me.

Published by Ria _

Hey! I'm a high school student from India writing a small blog about the various things I like or want to write about in general! Check out my blog at https://riaraje.com/

4 thoughts on “Empathy: A Lost Art?

  1. A living topic , very sensitively addressed . The view expressed is , indeed , a manifest glimpse into one of the shades of your August personality .

    Like

  2. It was a very sad tale of the piggy disguised as a funny incident.
    If it made you sad, you have empathy

    Like

  3. the article indeed is an eye opener. you have done your research and written a beautiful article. now that i see the video again i dont find it funny. you are right, hope we as a society are more kind to each other.

    Like

  4. Our society will be a better surrounding to live , if people comprehend the implication of ” Empathy ” .

    Like

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