Empathy is being able to see the world as others see it. Empathy is the thread that connects us to other humans. When empathy is used in everyday life, it makes us feel more connected to one another. And when we feel connected to those around us, we into better, more compassionate people.
I was troubled by the recent news that had been going around since last week. Humanity is cruel sometimes. Things that we are capable of doing to others sometimes is beyond imaginable. Times like this give us great opportunity to take a good look of ourselves to redefine what “abundance” means to us. What can we do to help others? Practice empathy, as I like to call it.
The other day as I hear the news about children being separated from their parents as potential bargain for political reasons brought back some memory of my own child hood experiences. What does it mean to have separation anxiety? What does it feel like? What kind of side effect does it leave on the child?
After my own car accident as a child, I was sent to a rehab hospital away from home at age of 9. It was a non profit hospital funded by Madame Chiang Kai-Shek, First Lady of the Republic of China in Taipei City. Children from ages of 5-23 lived at a dormitory style rehab facility. Schooling was provided from kindergarten through middle school. Medical services were provided at the facility includes surgery and physical therapy. Parents are allow to visit on weekends and few days after surgery if needed but on the most part, children who received care at the facility are separated from their parents.
I remember the first night my parents dropped me off at this facility. Moon was bright and sky was clear at night. I remember sleeping alone for the first time in a strange place I have never been before. I miss home. The light of the moon was so bright, it shone directly through the little window on to my bed. I remember it was an open area, with some wood made cabinet as unit dividers. Each unit consisted of 6 beds total and the unit I was assigned to stay had one other child at the time. She was asleep and I was up the whole night feeling anxious, scare, and sad. I remember in the middle of the night I got up and changed out from my pajama. I put on one of my favorite dress at the time, it was a yellow dress with green poky dots. I was ready to go home. I spend the rest of my first night sitting at nursing unit in my poky dots dress waiting for my parents to come visit me the next morning anxiously.
Having gone through that separation anxiety, I can only imagine children whom are separated from their parents for whatever reason the humanity may have given them. Alone in a strange place and many of them not even speak a word of English.
As we watch and learn from different sources of media, feeling the frustrations, anger, and disappointments are undeniably part of our good conscious. But perhaps what’s even more important as we watch what is going on is to practice and exercise our empathy towards one another. Reach out our hands and ask ourselves, what can we do to contribute for the good cause?
Till this day, I still remember that feeling of being alone as a child. My parents did everything they could to ease that separation pain. They visited me every weekends and they took me home to spend my weekends sometimes. Thinking about those children whom are separated from their parents, the lack of care at the facilities, the living conditions of which they have to face at a very young age, all of these will have tremendous impact on the future of these children. Perhaps it is time to ask ourselves, What is compassion to me? What does it mean to have compassion on others? Is your compassion gender limited? Is it ethnicity limited? Are you holding judgement when you exercise these humane qualities? What can we do as a society? How do you practice empathy?
It brings me deep sense of sadness, disappointment and anger to see the cruelty of human beings.