Independent and busy people, more often than not, are regarded as strong-minded and willed people. They are perceived to be individuals who can survive whatever comes their way without hurting a finger. Most, especially those in smiles, are taken as people who don’t need any other people to fulfill happiness. However, it is human nature to need someone you can share your grief with, even if you are the universe’s wealthiest person. Just because a person carries it well doesn’t mean what he or she is maintaining is not heavy. Visualize a world without Mother Teresa, Martin Luther King, Jr., St. Francis of Assisi, Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Gandhi, and so many others. Picture a world without the innumerable people who risked their own lives to protect others during wartime (i.e., the thousands of Holocaust martyrs recorded as the Righteous Among Nations). Envision a world without those who’ve fallen into burning buildings or beheaded other heroic acts of rescue during the periods of trauma. It’s unimaginable.

People have several reactions when a friend, neighbor, or loved one is in some life crisis, emotional pain, and relationship conflict in their life. Some of the responses may range from apathy to sympathy, empathy, and compassion. Of the four answers, apathy is the most negative because it’s a way of not caring about what happens to the other person. For example, when the Philippines were hit by a massive hurricane that left millions homeless, some people ignored pleas for money contributions to help the survivors because it was a matter of indifference. Those who were sympathetic might have thought that it’s too bad that those people were suffering so very much, and therefore, implying that they are superior or pitying the victims of the disaster. Not only the Philippines, but most of our brothers and sisters in developing countries require help. So, why is it imperative to have compassion and empathy towards others?

Being compassionate and having a heart for empathizing with other people can make one see the world as others see it.

Sometimes, chaos and misunderstandings happen just because the other person refuses to look at the bigger picture. Besides, having these characteristics teach us to be non-judgmental and leave our values behind. This world is already cruel to be imposing your own beliefs just because you had it better. Understanding another’s feelings is also one of the many important of listening to others. You may not accept entirely why the person is feeling that way, but at least you will understand where the person is coming from, and through that, you will also be able to communicate your understanding of that person’s feelings.

Without empathy, people tend to go on with life without thinking about how others feel or what they may be thinking. Each of us has different outlooks. We all encounter moods, sadness, and hurt, joy, and grief. And we are so cramped when we only see our philosophy. Without taking a moment to evaluate another, it is easy to make assumptions and jump to conclusions. This often leads to confusion, bad feelings, struggle, low morale, and even divorce. People do not feel understood or appreciated.

Being compassionate and empathizing can be practiced in 3 areas which an individual can work on. In your personal life, this can improve your family relationship. Healthy relationships demand care, consideration, and understanding. The lack of empathy and kindness in a relationship will soon struggle, whether it’s friendship or a romantic relationship. When people only think of their interests, the other people in the relationships will suffer. In your workplace, teamwork can be improved just by listening to your colleagues. Even if people are not working on one project, it is still necessary to get along with their co-workers. Using empathy is an essential part of a constant working relationship. Without it, it’s much simpler to fall into arguments and disagreements. Higher amounts of compassion in the workplace have been linked to increased performance, increased sales, and better leadership abilities. This type of kindness pushes people to dive in and help when there are major disasters. People are willing to help others they have never seen because they know that they too would need guidance if things were changed.

Without compassionate empathy, the world would be a much darker and less functional place to live. So at this moment, take time to check on your neighbors, your relatives, and workmates and take the heart to listen to them wholeheartedly. You can save a soul by just listening.