Empathy Intervention – Lara Haller

My empathy intervention was a helpful experience in recognizing that my views aren’t always the only ones. I usually consider myself a pretty empathetic person with the ability to understand that others can see things differently or that they might be going through stuff behind the scenes, however when it comes to political situations I end up getting frustrated and tend to either change the subject or tune out the opposing side. This weekend one of my friends visited and the issue of immigration in the US came up. Her main argument is that immigrants coming into the country are not only taking away her opportunities as a citizen, but that they are illegally coming in and should be penalized for it. She also believes that people should stay in the country they are born because they have privilege there. These views are completely irrational and naive to me, as I believe we have the privilege to help people outside of the US live the life they deserve; other countries do not have the privilege they could potentially have in our wealthy country. But, I immediately recognized my frustration with her views and instead of shutting her down or just walking away, I decided to explain my side and put myself in her shoes. We talked about how different our views are because of how we grew up. She just grew up with different political beliefs and values in her home. I believe people our age have the ability and the knowledge of our world to create their own views, but she does not care enough about politics to rationalize what her dad taught her to believe. Although that is different from my belief and my interest in politics, I have to see that some people just do not care about these issues of our society. It doesn’t make her less of my friend or less of a good person, she just has different beliefs and interests. Coming to terms with this made me a lot more aware of the issues of politics and where the other side may be coming from. It was a huge learning experience for me and has already made me more aware and empathetic! 

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