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The necessary practice of empathy

November 29, 2019
Communications Colunga Foundation

During these weeks, where the social and political crisis has generated various manifestations due to the demand for a social transformation, there have been episodes of extreme violence, in which tolerance and respect for the other have been absent.

"What detonated the outbreak is that a small breed treat the majority as if they were garbage, as if they were part of a zoo," said the astronomer and National Prize for Exact Sciences, José Maza, in a CNN interview, who put emphasis on the inequalities that have marked our society: “Today one demands a little more dignity, that they treat us looking at our faces and not so 'hear, look, do such a thing' (in a derogatory way). This looked like starting to rotate, that of saying 'hey, stay with your population', the truth is that Chile is not going to be able to exist anymore ”.

The study "Uneven. Origins, changes and challenges of the social gap in Chile ”, launched by UNDP in 2017, highlighted that the three gaps that most bother people are the inequalities related to access to education, health and that some people are treated with much more respect and dignity than others.

How do we change our eyes on others? Empathy seems to be key according to the professor and researcher at the University of Houston, Brené Brown, who summarized in a short audiovisual short, the main attributions of empathy:

Brené Brown on The Power of Empathy. By the RSA

The power of empathy A magnificent animated short that explains the difference between empathy and compassion Voice: Dr Brené Brown | Animation: Katy Davis | By The RSA

published by Restless Culture on Saturday, March 17, 2018

1) The ability to take the perspective of the other person; 2) Do not make judgments; 3) Recognize the emotions of the other person and 4) Communicate. “It is a feeling with the other, it is a choice to connect with the other and for that you must connect with something in yourself that recognizes that feeling,” says the researcher.

“Empathy is feeling with people, it is trying to let them know that you understand the point of view or emotion of the other. You don't need to say anything else, you just need to tell him that you are in that place and that you are with the person ”, he deepens Alfredo Zamudio, Director of Nansen Center for Peace and Dialogue from Norway 

In Denmark, one of the happiest countries in the world according to the World Happiness Report, empathy is taught in schools. Children and adolescents, between the ages of 6 and 16, have one hour a week of empathy classes. In them, they talk about their problems and with the help of the teacher, they look for ways to solve what afflicts each student. In this way, they are taught to have the confidence to be open to others and, at the same time, train the ability to support the other.

Perhaps, if in Chile these kinds of teachings were promoted in schools and in the family itself, we would be happier. Perhaps we would be more willing to talk with others, from a place with greater perspective, with less prejudice and more connection between people. A necessary practice to understand what we are living in Chile and move towards a society that does not distinguish between those who deserve good treatment and those who do not.

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