We’re all been taught to put ourselves first. While that can be true (we all have our selfish moments) it’s also important to understand others’ experiences and learn from them, which can help us empathize with other people in the future. This article describes the benefits of empathy, and why understanding someone’s feelings is beneficial. Not only can it help you grasp their situation better, but it’s important for our emotional growth to acknowledge the direct emotions and feelings of someone else. After last week’s post on learning to be a better listener, we all need to lean into that skill as we begin to listen and understand different experiences.
May is also Asian Heritage Month, and while we aim to emphasize diversity every day, this month is especially important. This article from Refinery29 highlights the most recent shooting of six Asian women in Atlanta. Finding out what will help you let go is where it’s all work that you’ll need to do. Writer Connie Wang suggests that representation isn’t the solution to combatting racism, even though it’s a step in the right direction. As a society, we have to consciously acknowledge Asian experiences and empathize with them in order to move forward and truly combat racism. When representation is seen as the only step to tackle injustice and racism, it dismisses the act of accountability and realizing the impact of these moments.
While this process can be difficult to grapple with at first (especially if you’re not Asian or a person-of-colour) reading about and understanding the challenging experiences of Asian people, can provide a perspective you weren’t familiar with, and help you become more empathetic to the Asian people in your life. Checking in with them, and allowing them the space to talk (if they want it) can create true moments of care and empathy.