Hey there folks!
I have a question for all of you today. Do you understand that you are not the center of the universe? Now I do not mean to sound like an asshole but it seems to me that I have encountered far too many people that cannot see past their own nose. Before you scoff at the question I want you to stop for a second and really think. Sure most of us realize that there are other people around us, although a few of us do not realize that. But, most of us spend so much time in our own heads and caught up in our own problems that we seem to lose track of those around us.
This all boils down to empathy for other people. Mind you I mean empathy and not sympathy which many people seem to confuse. When I sympathize with someone I agree with what you are saying, I feel what you feel. However, when I empathize I do not agree I simply understand. For a moment I step outside of my head and put myself in your shoes so as to understand what you are feeling. In other words, when I sympathize I am taking your side in order to comfort and support you; whereas, when I empathize I am trying to objectively understand your perspective.
Can you see things through someone else’s eyes, even if only for one moment? The perspective this can give you is simply amazing, as this is the first step to understanding that you are not alone.
How often do you get caught up in trivial and mundane bullshit with other people? I know I have been caught up in so much unnecessary drama because I could not divorce myself from my own perspective and try to look at the situation objectively.
My parents taught me something many years ago that has just stuck in my head and I know I will carry this truth to my grave. There are three sides to every story; my side, your side, and the truth. The pursuit of not just truth, but the truth; the objective truth about life, about the universe, about us. From a philosophical stand point I understand that we can never know the objective truth because we are limited in our perspective. So I have taken these words from my parents to heart because I believe the closest I can come to understanding the truth is by taking a moment to consider all sides of the story.
This also relates to something I learned years ago in my studies of religion and philosophy. I am not entirely sure where it comes from but I believe it is a Jewish idea. The idea is that in the beginning the universe was a clean and pristine whole; however, that whole became shattered and within each of us is one piece of that whole. I know I am not doing the full idea justice in this blurb, but ever since I heard this I fell in love with the idea. If there are three sides to a story than the truth is the pristine whole, while you and I must put our pieces together in order to attempt to see the truth.
This principle informs the very core of who I am and is the primary motivation for why I must write. I want to share my piece of the puzzle with anyone willing to listen, or read as the case may be, in the hopes that when it combines with your piece it brings you some small measure of clarity. More importantly, I listen to every story I have the chance to hear and with as little judgment as possible. This way I can try to gain the best insight I can into the truth, no matter how flawed that understanding may be.
Even though my quest for understanding may never end, I know that if we all took just a little more time to really understand that there are other people here and that their story is every bit as real and valid as our own, we would all be better off.