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Question of the Month: How Do We Give Empathy If We Don’t Have It?

It is often important to first get empathy before you are able to offer it to another.  
The biggest impediment to “empathy” is judgement. We live in a very judging society based on the many isms that plague our relationships. It is also not possible to have empathy for someone you do not know.
Knowing what I know about Tony who killed Tariq, I have often wondered if I had grown up in the same way he did – with a challenging upbringing – would I have made the same choice as he did?
I do work in prisons teaching self-forgiveness and redemption, and it may surprise you (as it did me) that I have as yet to meet an offender who was not a victim. I tear up as I hear stories of how many of these offenders were grossly abused as children. We can take a lesson in empathy from Christ who taught:
“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?” (Matthew 7:3)
We are all fallible and make mistakes. It is important to develop the humility that recognizes the imperfection in others through the eyes of empathy. Here is a link to an exercise I do in my Forgiveness Workshop – a simple quick exercise and once you complete it – you will have further developed and strengthened your empathy muscle. (LINK).
Empathy will also deepen your ability to embrace compassion and forgiveness. Living in empathy, compassion and forgiveness is living in a higher, purposeful and uplifted level where you enjoy health, happiness, peace and the flow of life.
This has worked for me. I pray that it will do the same for you.

Azim Khamisa

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