What is so special about us humans? Well we have the ability to “Empathize” (cue the jazz hands). When you see someone crying, you feel tiny wells of tears forming in your eye. You cannot even deny it, this happens to all of us. It is because of those damn mirror neurons. I have a roommate, for fun lets name her Francesca, she has the most sensitive and the most selective mirror neurons ever. You guys must be curious about the selective part…well let me explain it to you. She cannot empathize to you about your family burdens or family issues, but she can about your love life. And the most interesting thing is that she has never been in a relationship or even liked someone properly. I am absolutely fascinated by this ability of hers.

Let me demonstrate her ability through an event that occurs almost every week. When I wake up on the weekends, I find her crying to herself, and of course, I get worried. So I ask her, “Francesca, what happened? Are you okay?”  She looks at me and starts crying some more. And slowly she replies, ” The guy in the story I was reading left the girl, and the girl was pregnant, and he also cheated on her. And, now he completely disappeared, and she is heartbroken. Poor girl.” Few more tear drops fall down Francesca’s face. “But, even though he is a jerk, I still want them to be together.”

So yes Void, my roommate was crying for a character  in a story because she felt what the character was feeling, she felt the broken heart…..when she has never had one before. I am completely flabbergasted by her. If you read this blog, you will probably hear about Francesca a lot as she is an interesting human being.

So back to the topic we were in : empathy. I did not really know how to empathize until my father told me that is the most important part of being a human. So like how you read about in adventure books about the main character training in a specific ability that will be useful in the future, i.e sword fighting (so want to train for that one day), I trained myself in the ability to empathize. I read books and told myself, “Put yourself in his/her shoes, how would you feel?” I listened to heart breaking music ( Francesca’s recommendation from her “Brings me to tears” playlist), I read poems trying to understand the feelings of the poet.

I think I did a pretty good job in learning the ability. I can empathize pretty well if I do say so myself. If not, I just say to the person sitting next to me, “I feel soulless today, pour me some feelings, please?”  And that trick always seem to work with me.

Anyway, people find it weird that I learnt to empathize. Is it in an ability that is innately human? Do you NEED to experience the same situation before you can truly empathize? Or if you have a wild imagination and you can put yourself in their shoes without any problem, can that be considered empathy?

These are real questions that need real answers.

Until next time Void. My thoughts are with you.

A.D.

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