Today we are sitting by the water, it’s a glorious sunny day in the first weeks of autumn here in Australia… The breeze is just beautiful, wafting that wondrous salt air in from the ocean…
We are watching a flock of Australian Black Swans, called a bevy with their offspring called Cygnets, floating gracefully upon the bay, where they come to breed each year. Their numbers are increasing, which is very exciting…
I have a thermos of tea, mugs & some melt in the mouth Macadamian shortbread for our seaside musings.
I have been reflecting upon some difficult issues in our modern society…especially the lack of empathy & understanding that sadly many are experiencing in today’s world…thus I have placed my professional hat on for the following reflection…
In my professional life I have extensively worked with patients who had sociopathologies with mental health disorders. But I am not talking about these pathologies here…
Rather a trend in the unwillingness to have any empathy & understanding for others. Let’s take a moment to reflect upon what empathy is & does for our society…
The definition of empathy; is the ability to comprehend & share in the feelings of others.
Empathy also plays an important role in our emotional & social wellbeing, especially in our ability to have healthy relationships as participating members of society.
Empathy is an essential part of our humanity. Having empathy one for another is what makes for a tolerant & cohesive community.
Jesus gives us His wisdom on this very topic…
[Treat others with the patience, tolerance, consideration, understanding & concern that you yourself would like to be treated.]
Luke 6:31 Refer 2
Therefore this trend in lacking empathy for others is concerning, as it has its roots in focusing upon the Self & disassociating the self from the negative impact one’s behavior may have upon another’s life!
Now don’t get me wrong here, I’m not advocating that we shouldn’t look after ourselves. It’s very wise to guard our hearts against certain circumstances & with certain people.
And we definitely need to nurture our bodies, minds & spirits with nutritious food, healthy & restorative practices to ensure the balance of work, rest & play. I absolutely advocate for that!
No, what I’m reflecting upon here dear friend, is a culture in selfishness, self centeredness & narcissistic behavior that justifies itself, because it’s felt to be an inherent right of entitlement…no matter what the impact or consequences upon another’s life!
Let’s take a moment to look at Narcissism, so we have an idea what this entails…
First a little background history; the story of Narcissus has its origins in ancient Greek Mythology.
Narcissus fell in love with his own image when he saw it reflected in the still waters of the river. Eventually dying there at the river’s edge because his focus got stuck, as he could neither possess nor turn away from the image of himself that he was in love with…
The Roman version added that Narcissus could not be convinced to move from his focus on Self, refusing to see that his behavior was negatively impacting the people around him, especially his parents & those who loved him.
Narcissism is defined as;
A sense of self entitlement, selfishness, self centredness, egotism, a constant need for admiration of one’s image or physical appearance, egocentric & lacking in empathy.
Modern technology has definitely given momentum to this culture in the focus & concentration upon the Self in both the real or desired image that can be projected. Then with the explosion of Social Media this has been taken to feverish new heights.
We are witnessing new depths to Narcissitic behavior in the actions & reactions that sadly social media both enables & perpetuates.
We are seeing the increase of cyber bullying to horrendous new levels quite often behind the protective curtain of anonymity! We are experiencing a lack of empathy & understanding in our global community, that is greatly concerning.
So, let each of us be very aware that every action, inaction, reaction & word either spoken or written that we put out there, will impact another’s life either positively or negatively.
Let us have empathy & understanding for one another. And let us treat each other with kindness & consideration, the way we truly would like to be treated in kindness & consideration also.
And let us not get stuck like Narcissus, in falling for an image of Self, real or desired, that we can neither possess nor turn away from…That will eventually bring death to our souls.
Until next time…dear friend…
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