CULTIVATING EMPATHY

I was lucky enough to be able to present at the recent 2021 Global Conference of Empathy presented by Virtual School of Australia. Here is why I wanted to participate;

Our brain develops in a social context.We need others around us so that we can interact with and experience life with them. It is through this interaction one can develop a sense of themselves with the sense of the other whom they are interreacting with.

We are all now living in an intense world. It is becoming harder each day. The advancement of technology, although has brought many benefits to our everyday lives, has also been instrumental in significantly reducing the interactions that we are all having with each other. If we stop in a variety of different settings whether this is a restaurant, a café, a party, a school or a gathering of sorts we can quite clearly see the impact, demanding us to do something about it.

I’ve spent the last five years studying empathy and its importance. Since 2019 I have been facilitating social and emotional development programs in both primary and high schools in Victoria to students who are thirsty for knowledge. I have enjoyed every bit of this process. Now, more than ever before, we need to do something urgently to support our young people and their future.

In this poem, I will share my views to demonstrate why empathy is essential to our growth and healthy development and how we need to can cultivate it in our lives in all settings.

Dear Human Being,

Now more than ever I ask you to listen
I would like to invite you to begin to envision

Is empathy diminishing?
Is it something we are relinquishing?
Is empathy becoming endangered?
Something that will be remembered

Empathy is a fundamental human need
It helps us to regulate
Thus, helps us to operate
Empathy creates warmth when we listen to another
It is simply what holds us together
We are relational creatures
It is one of our fundamental features
Empathy allows us to feel safe in a moment
That feeling of safety soothes and is a vital component
A soothed human is healthy and able to learn
If not, it will lead to a concern
Prescriptive approaches are failing us all
They are creating us to be limited and small

Our relationships matter significantly
This has been proven scientifically
Our relationships shape who we are
It is through them we can discover our northern star
Empathy is not a luxury
Our relationships heal us ultimately
When honouring our differences becomes a norm
With compassion and respectful communication relationships transform

We are wired to connect
Hence why empathy serves to protect
The issue is becoming something we cannot ignore
Our subjective experience is not our brain it is our mind
It is one that requires us to be gentle and kind
Understanding one’s world may require us to be curious
But it certainly does not mean we have to be gregarious

Time, your presence is something you can give
To create a brighter a world where you want to live
We have a choice, this is something I would like to stress
This is an important issue I’d like to address
Empathy buffers life experiences over time

It paths the way for a created and healthy life by design

Not everything we humans create is good
Perhaps the speed of creation is misunderstood
People don’t talk as much anymore
iPhones here, ipads there, resulting in tech galore
This has become the saddest thing
If we don’t do something about this it will sting
Maybe it is screen hygiene
Something so simple is what it may seem
It is getting in the way of humans feeling seen

For one to know that they are not alone
They don’t have to struggle on their own
You seriously have nothing to lose
To put yourself in someone else’s shoes
Our minds need consistent empathy doses
I hope you are still listening so please don’t lose focus

Our young imitate the actions of those around them indeed
Repetitive and consistent empathetic actions is what they need.
A caregiver’s undivided presence
Is what is needed in essence
We really need more time in the day
I hear you say
Did we create too much clutter in a way?
Do we need to block time in our day?
Put all sorts of distractions away.

No matter who you are
How old you are
What skin colour
What you do
Where you are from
Where you live
What you believe

Empathy provides us the experience of feeling felt.
It allows the protective walls we have built to melt,
One does not need to be a savant,
To know that this is what we all really want.

Author: Ms. Ozlem Mehmet-Radji, Curiousoz.com

I am passionate, dedicated and committed to
having all kids thrive in loving, connected and
conscious environments.