The impact of empathy - Ahwatukee Foothills News: Arts & Life

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The impact of empathy

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Posted: Monday, October 4, 2010 12:30 pm

Empathy. The word that has the power for us to put ourselves in another person's shoes to try and understand how they are feeling. The act of empathy goes further than just being considerate of other people because it allows us to figure out what we can do to better the other person's situation.

Empathy is a part of life and very well should be because it can have an inspirational impact on others in our community. For example, the other day I was driving home and noticed in the far right lane a man in a SUV ran out of gas. He had three people that came out from across the street to help push his car to the nearest gas station. It may seem like no big deal to everyone else, but those three people who came out to help him did not have to do that. The point is they wanted to. Who knows, that guy who ran out of gas could have had a terrible day, been struggling for a while financially (hence running out of gas) and may have been suffering from health or relationship issues. The fact that those three other people volunteered to help get his car and him to safety is very moving because it is a great example of being considerate for other people, as well as feeling empathy toward someone other than ourselves.

Little things like this can really change another person's perspective on life, how they view others, and maybe even how they view themselves. When we all have our bad days, the day feels even worse when we feel like we are dealing with it alone. But when someone comes along and takes the time to try and understand how we are feeling, or get involved to find ways to better our situation, and show empathy toward us, the bad day can instantly turn into a great day.

Times may be hard right now for everyone, but it should never ruin our morals, character, values, how we view others in our community, or how we all should still want to help other people - even the rest of the world. Tough times should strengthen us all and bring us all closer in the end because we can help each other get through the rough times, so one day when all of this is over, we can be friends and share the good times together.

Knowing that there are people like the three who helped the guy in our community makes me proud to be a resident here. Many thanks go out to those three guys who helped push the car out of the road for they were a great example of how we can all express empathy towards one another. No empathy ever goes unnoticed. Someone always notices a good deed, especially the person who is receiving it.

Ahwatukee Foothills resident Michelle "Mikey" Arana is a 2003 graduate of Mountain Pointe High School. She offers free peer advice; however, Mikey is not licensed or trained, just a fellow friend to the community. All inquiries made to Mikey will remain anonymous unless legal issues occur. She can be reached at or


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