Barb Caffrey's Blog

Writing the Elfyverse . . . and beyond

Archive for December 5th, 2022

The Transformative Power of Empathy

with 4 comments

A few years ago, I wrote a few blogs about what I called “transformative powers.” The first one was about writing. The second was about music. And while I am unsure right now what I’d intended the third blog to be, originally, I now know what the third power is: It’s empathy.

Now, you’re probably asking yourselves, “Why? Why empathy? How does it transform anything?”

Well, when we understand someone else’s actions, that helps us to communicate with them — even when we don’t agree, at all, as to what they may have done. You must have empathy to try to understand, and you also have to risk the fact that you may find out some things you never wanted to know…but all of that is because of how empathy can transform your life for the better.

“But, Barb,” you protest. “If I’m finding out stuff I don’t want to know, how does that help?”

We have to be willing to risk all to gain all. We must believe that we can understand someone else, if we try. Otherwise, communication would be an impossibility, and harmonious relations — however you might like to define them — would be a myth. Society would definitely have not come into being, either, without someone having empathy at some point in the process.

Empathy can transform an enemy into an ally. It can also remake the world, slowly, one person at a time. That has value, even if you can’t always see it.

Personally, I think empathy transforms your life in two ways. One, it allows you to see, for a brief instant, into the mind’s eye of another person. Two, it points out that “here but for the grace of God/dess go I.”

See, we’ve all made mistakes. Some of us survive those mistakes and in the process realize we can help others not make the same mistakes we’ve made. Wanting to help others who we may not know very well in order to help them avoid some of the pitfalls that have messed up our own lives is what empathy’s all about.

If that’s not transformative, I don’t know what is.

Written by Barb Caffrey

December 5, 2022 at 3:28 am

Posted in Uncategorized