90 On Empathy and Honesty

Beloved Amber,

You develop empathy by developing honesty.
Any "empathy" where you pretend to feel concerned about the feelings of others, without honesty, is just a lie.
So you could criticize people without feeling empathy, in which case you are being judgemental.
Or you can avoid criticism out of a sense of false empathy.

You can show a fake pity, caring for how unfortunate others are, compared to you and how "wonderful" you are.

As soon as you honestly recognize that you are no different from any one else, that you are not a special unique snowflake that deserves to get special presents from god.
You are no better than anyone else, and no one else is better than you, in the eyes of the divine.

To be able to feel real empathy, you must first get rid of your sense of superiority.
That way you know, you deserve nothing more or better or faster or more special than anyone else.
Then you can really feel for the other people, because you know you are in exactly the same boat as they are.

You are all brothers and sisters.
No one gets special treatment.
Maybe right now, things are very good for you in your life, and really bad for someone else.
That doesn't mean that you are being treated specially.
It just means you are lucky right now.
Or maybe that you don't realize how bad off you actually are, or are about to be.

All these things pass.

Empathy is feeling yourself in the same place as someone else.
Feeling that their joy is your joy also, and their suffering is your suffering too.

And this is exactly true, because you are a human being just like them.