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The Power of Empathy

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The Power of Empathy

I was always a sensitive kid growing up. My brother called me a “drama queen” and I have to admit I did have a flair for the dramatic. But in truth my sensitivity came, as it does for most children, from the gift of empathy. I felt part of every gentle smile, every sideways glance, every tensed body, every laugh – as if it were my own.

I learned over time that emotional and empathetic balance can be a tricky thing to find in this world and being “sensitive” or even just aware of what is going on around you can often be a gift hard to bear. Growing up for me was a repeated process of opening up and then shutting down again. Like a lot of sensitive kids I struggled with anxiety: an underlying feeling that something was seriously wrong. And, to be honest, from what I’ve learned as an adult, I realize now that I was right. Something was and is seriously wrong with a great deal of how the world works.

Thus I see the logic of why many people shut down emotionally, to a certain extent, in an effort to protect themselves from the insanity and suffering in this world. But I have also come to realize when we disconnect from the suffering in the world, we also disconnect from the impact our decisions make on the global community, nature and other species on this planet. Thus, we actually exacerbate the very same social and ethical crises we are choosing to shut out.

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Alisa Rutherford-Fortunati

Gentle World is a vegan intentional community and non-profit organization, whose core purpose is to help build a more peaceful society, by educating the public about the reasons for being vegan, the benefits of vegan living, and how to go about making such a transition. For more information about vegan food and other aspects of a vegan lifestyle, visit the Gentle World website and subscribe to our monthly newsletter.


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1:40AM PDT on Nov 2, 2014

Thank you!

5:47AM PDT on Aug 5, 2013

Oh, why the second unneccessary page?

Otherwise, Frieda V, you are so right!

12:16AM PDT on Jul 11, 2013


6:36AM PDT on Jul 10, 2013


5:55AM PDT on Jul 10, 2013

So helpful that empaths are getting the information they need to cope, to be comfortable with this gift, which at times is not a blessing. It is easy to be misunderstood as being too emotional, too sensitive( after all this gift make people highly sensitives), too dramatic. Little do others understand the pain and hurt empaths bear thru life in their associations. Pain that cuts deep into their souls.

Indeed- little acts of kindness go a long way, and true empathy is anonymous.
Thank you for sharing.

8:23PM PDT on Jul 9, 2013

Beautiful article. Thank you.

8:35AM PDT on Jul 9, 2013

Thank you for sharing.

3:21AM PDT on Jul 8, 2013

Do people still call you a drama queen?

9:43AM PDT on Jul 3, 2013

You are 100 percent right!

9:47AM PDT on Jul 2, 2013

Thank You so much!

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