These are two words that I believe are at the core of all humans. We are born with these traits and only lose or disregard them through the experience of living. What I mean by this is our environment and those we interact with influence and shape us in ways they we are generally unaware of. We accept things as being normal far too easily. In many ways these traits are also considered by many as signs of weakness.
Imagine your children when they were young, how kind, gentle and loving they were. The worst people to have ever lived were kind gentle babies once, we all lose or disregard these traits in varying degrees as we are forced to survive modern life.
At its simplest, empathy is the awareness of the feelings and emotions of others. It’s the link between us and others, because it is how we as individuals understand what others are feeling as if we were feeling it ourselves. We all empathise with others; when you know someone is feeling low by their body language or when you are told a sad story and imagine yourself in that position. Some are more empathic than others, some do their best to ignore it or at least choose their moments to acknowledge it.
In what is fast becoming a “dog eat dog” world, to honestly justify your claim of being a “good person” you need to really empathise with those around you. Take a few minutes and imagine how you would feel if your child was dying of starvation and there was nothing you could do other than watch your baby die. Imagine the fear of those living in a war zone, waking up each day not knowing if it will be your last.
Compassion generally follows empathy. Compassion is a strong feeling of sympathy and sadness for the suffering or bad luck of others and a wish to help them. Compassion is donating to a good cause, or simply helping a stranger in need. Too often though we feel compassion but do nothing about it. It can initially cause a strong emotional response but we allow this feeling to lessen and carry on with our lives. We often share these stories with others who also empathise but also do not act on it. Some actually revel in having other peoples’ sad stories to tell.
We have made this world the way it is. By choosing not to act we show how uncompassionate we really have become. How disconnected with how we were as children. As I said, it can be seen by some as a sign of weakness, but this is not the case. Many are afraid to show their true feelings and if they see it in others will ridicule them, but this is fear, it’s a way of deflecting it away from themselves in case they are ever seen for who they really are. You have to choose to be better, you have to be stronger and true to yourselves. I honestly believe that 99.99% of people are good people. Deep inside they want to be seen as good people but they build walls, as they are afraid of others seeing them for who they really are.
We have such a short time on this planet, we should all try and be the very best versions of ourselves that we can possibly be.
Veganism is about much more than not eating meat or dairy products. It’s about kindness, compassion, justice and equality to all earthlings. Only when you become vegan can you call yourself a truly compassionate person. The vegans I know are the kindest, gentlest people. They are the most generous and the most open. I am very proud of who I am. I am proud of the fact that I care for all living creatures and that I show it through the way I live.