Empathy Intervention – Brandon Sassano

I often find it very easy to otherize people as I can be quite reserved. Those that I am close with are those that mean the world to me, and it’s very easy to connect with them, however this makes it so that if I don’t know people well it’s hard for me to describe myself as connected to them. I empathize greatly for those who are close with me, and those with struggles that I can relate with some of the things that I value most. For example I will always put my parents and brother above all else, they mean the world to me and I can’t imagine losing them, so my heart genuinely hurts for those who have lost a sibling or a parent because I could never imagine that pain. I guess besides that sometimes I can find it difficult to really connect with people or what’s happening. I would always be willing to help and listen, it’s just for those I don’t know or those who are struggling with something that I personally can’t relate to something that I’ve experienced, I find it difficult to connect. This then becomes the case of viewing them as an “other”, they’re someone else with struggles of their own.

I guess I’ve never really thought about it as anything bad as in my mind it was simply just that everybody has a life with struggles of their own. I could always recognize that somebody’s struggles could be really difficult and I’d feel sorry for them without a doubt, it just never became a case of connecting it to myself. To sum it up it was just a “I’m so sorry that you have to go through that” reaction. As I think about it now it seems a little selfish as if I was struggling or hurting I would want someone to help me, even if they personally hadn’t gone through the same thing as me, or maybe even if they didn’t know me all that well, at the end of the day any encouragement and support is helpful. In this crazy world we live in it’s important to support each other, because that’s how we as a society will learn to thrive and work together. All too often society is viewed as an every man for himself/survival of the fittest environment, but that’s only because we as people make it that way.

I’m realizing now that instead of simply connecting with or worrying about helping those who are close to me, I should be more willing to help anyone that I can see is in need of help. I shouldn’t be separating myself from those I don’t know as much as I am. I tend to hide in my comfort zone of friends and people, but in reality that isn’t going to get me far and it’s definitely not going to allow me to help others. That needs to change, because if everyone were to do otherize people in the way that I do, the world would feel lonely and unwelcoming. Nobody wants to feel left out, or as if they couldn’t get help. Otherizing people only causes harm, as in the end sometimes life can be an absolute shit show, but we’re all in this boat together so why not work together.

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