We live in a world of selfies…
A world where we care less about the moments we spend with people, and more about the pictures of these moments that we capture…where we click at least 10 to 20 selfies before one finally makes it to our wall on Facebook…where we are not ashamed to click the picture of human beings bleeding from a road traffic accident, oblivious to our primary duty towards mankind.
Whatever happened to empathy?
The next generation of homo sapiens may very well be a breed where empathy, sensitivity and the likes may be classified as mental illness, for they defy the norm.
And so, this is a relevant question- this question of ‘when was the last time you made a difference in somebody’s life?‘
Somewhere in the course of my life, I realized the difference between the superfluous happiness we derive from pampering ourselves and the self-perpetuating, fulfilling happiness we discover in our acts of empathy- those moments of embracing not just fellow human-beings, but all creatures on earth. It seeds in us a sense of contribution to the larger picture of the world and propels us to redefine the very objectives of our lives.
I have known AA for quite some time now. She is about half my age, and she reminds me of my own self in many ways. She is a happy child- bubbly, full of zeal and optimism, and perpetually enthralled by everything around her. Her passion for life spills into her eyes and makes them sparkle. When she talks, it is as if she talks with her eyes and gestures.
But it wasn’t surprising to me that she could go as low as she could go high.
I was at work when she sent me a long mail describing her state of mind following a break-up. In that mail, I could read the undertones of anxiety, dependence and panic. I could sense her mood swings that threatened to perpetuate and land her in acute distress. I was also aware that it was impossible to get her out of this state in a single setting. The first step was to make myself available to her. We agreed on making mails the medium of our conversations. So my first mail to her was centered on winning her trust and confidence. It was important to put myself in her place and understand her emotions and look at the scenario from her point of view. It was important to let her know that it was perfectly human to feel these emotions and that she had no reasons to feel ashamed of her emotions. And then, I had to help her arrive at what her emotions were trying to tell her.
We wrote to each other for days, and I took her through her emotions, helping her ‘approach‘ them and not ‘avoid‘ them. We talked about this particular phase of life and about many other things in life. We talked about our hopes and dreams. We talked about little things and big things. I also wrote a story for her. The last series on my blog ‘A Candle in the Wind‘, was part of this therapy. And gradually, I helped her shift her dependence from her relationship to more positive aspects of her life. Yes, the healing is going to take a long time. But I was delighted at her progress. I feel that I actually made a difference in her life by helping her discover herself. I showed her a mirror- a mirror that reflected the beautiful person she is. We share a deep bond now and I must say that she has enriched my world in as many ways as I have enriched hers.
I feel that this is all we need to do sometimes to make a difference in people’s lives. Show them a mirror…show them their own worth…show them the beauty of their souls….the richness of their lives. And at the end of it all, you can look into your mirror and smile at your reflection!
Life is short. Touch as many lives as you can. We are immortal only in the minds of the ones whom we have touched…our joys and sorrows continue to live in them long after we have bid goodbye to this planet.