"Money Isn't The Root to All Evil, the Lack of Empathy Is"... Hilda Tizeba "Money Isn't The Root to All Evil, the Lack of Empathy Is"... Hilda Tizeba
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Money isn’t the root of all evil, but the lack of empathy is…

Whoever said that money is the root of all evil lied! Big time! Hold on, stay with , hear me out for a second. It’s no secret that money gives us access to several things from the very necessities of life such as food, shelter and clothing, to luxuries and pleasures beyond our wildest dreams. That’s definitely true. Money is energy; energy, which apparently makes the world, go round. Money can do a lot of things, but to attribute money as the root and source of all evil is a bit much.

Let’s not look for a scapegoat aside from ourselves. At the end of the day what causes people to do horrible things to one another, hurt each other tremendously and cause scars so deep to the point it takes years to heal, isn’t money, but rather a lack of EMPATHY. Simply put, empathy refers to the ability to understand and feel other people’s emotions by simply placing yourself in their shoes. In other words, asking yourself the question “how would I feel if that were me”? It then requires one to take conscious steps to act accordingly.

So it all comes down to my main theory, the root of all evil, lies in the inability to understand and feel other people’s emotions nor placing oneself in their shoes. When someone lacks empathy, they lack the courtesy and common decency to restrain themselves from saying words or doing things that would inflict pain on others. They simply cannot comprehend the pain felt by others and consequently lack any sense of conscience or remorse. 

Just think about it, every evil known to mankind from war, slavery, prejudice, discrimination, intolerance, sexism, abuse, emotional and psychological violence, you name it, all come to being because someone, somewhere out there failed to have empathy. They failed to simply ask themselves one simple question, “How would I feel if that were me”? Or “ how would I feel if that were done to me”? There are times when somebody can do something so hurtful, so cruel and you’re just left in sheer bewilderment asking yourself, how do they sleep at night? Until you realize they probably slept like a baby because they simply couldn’t fathom your pain. By failing to have empathy, people are able to prioritize their own selfish interests and ulterior motives no matter how damaging to another.

So if someone today were to ask me, what’s one trait that you think every person ought to start mastering, I’d simply answer EMPATHY. But how does one start to develop a sense of empathy?

· Learn to listen

When talking to others, it’s very tempting to want to get our point across. Most of the time we listen to form a reply and not to truly listen. Next time someone comes and shares a complaint about something, rather than immediately getting defensive, just listen. Listen with the intent to understand and you just might realize how your actions might have truly impacted another. After a bit of practice, you’ll learn to listen to not only hear people’s words, but also their body language, tone and even facial cues will speak to you even more than the spoken word and you’ll truly start to understand how others feel.

· Check your privilege

Privilege is like oxygen, when you have it; you barely notice its existence, only its absence. Ask yourself in what ways does your privilege makes you oblivious or act in ways that are hurtful to others. Sometimes you barely even notice the pain you cause others through your words and actions because of the privilege that you have been given. By acknowledging your privilege and consciously deciding not to abuse it, you will be more inclined to consider the feelings of others more often, gradually building your sense of empathy.

· Talk to other people

Talk to diverse groups of people about controversial topics and hear their side of the story. Get out of your shell and learn to see things from different perspectives. Hearing people talk about their experiences will shed more light on things that you hadn’t even thought about before. By sharing other people’s experiences, it teaches you how to act better when faced with similar predicaments next time, because you have now learnt from other people how certain words or actions make them feel.

· Practice random acts of kindness more often

Little acts of kindness go a long way. The more frequently you tap into practicing kindness, the more you develop your soft spot for being empathic towards others. Practicing acts of kindness is a two way street. The more you practice the better and happier you feel, and the other person benefits from your kindness as well. Knowing that you’ve made someone’s day a little bit better is a great motivator for empathy.

· Always ask yourself “How would I feel if…”?

Constantly placing yourself in other people’s shoes will help a great deal in cultivating empathy. As humans we are prone to error and sometimes acting out of impulse. But the more frequently we ask ourselves how we would feel if we were in certain predicaments would greatly reduce our selfish, inconsiderate and insensitive tendencies when dealing with others. So always ask yourself, how would I FEEL if….?

Written by Hilda Tizeba

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Hilda Tizeba
Written by

Hilda Tizeba

I am a lecturer and the CEO and Founder of a mental health organisation called Guided Path. I strive to eliminate stigma through education, advocacy and utilising the law to bring forth meaningful policy and legal reform in the mental health sector in Tanzania.

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