Empathy: An Intern's Journey
Have you ever had one of those days where you just needed someone to talk to—someone to really get how you were feeling? Well, if you have, you were most likely in need of a dose of empathy.
Feeling heard and understood is a human need. It is also how we connect, help, and support one another. Empathy helps us get in touch with our feelings and gives us an understanding of ourselves and others.
If we can’t recognise someone in pain, how can we support them? If we are unable to accept and empathise with our own emotions, it is difficult to be present to people around us. And for this reason, empathy is crucial for our interconnectivity.
Empathy has had one of the biggest impacts on people with disabilities and their mental wellbeing. That being said, that is the main reason why I personally started this series on empathy.
As for me, I can’t begin to explain how this empathy journey has changed my life for the better. I learned that empathy can be cultivated from various activities as well as be practised in different settings and environments.
This journey helped me identify the differences between sympathy and empathy, and how people tend to express sympathy for people with disability instead of empathy. I came across various ways to practice empathy—there isn’t just one way to be empathetic, but it involves a whole spectrum of practices and policies, be it in the workplace or in the public. Learning empathy is not something that happens overnight. It is a skill that takes a lot of practice.
As I researched for this article series, I noticed how crucial it was to practise empathy at home, schools and the workplace. I learned that sometimes simple and small gestures of understanding another person’s point of view could go a long way for them.
I sincerely hope that my collective experience with this journey has helped you as a reader to develop more understanding and empathy for the lived experience of disability and the challenges that disabled people face. We all need to work collectively together to change perceptions of disability and it should not be left to disabled people and non-governmental organisations alone.
- Dhanya, Intern at Dialogue Includes All
For more information about our award-winning, globally-recognised empathy workshop, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or WhatsApp +6018 296 8828. Photo by Ron Lach on Pexels.