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"sympathetic solutions, essay on empathy" - princeton supplement


gomoksh 5 / 13  
Nov 8, 2010   #1
hi cud some1 plz tell me how i cud improve this essay?? plz rate it...n comment on the conclusion...

Question-
Using the following quotation from "The Moral Obligations of Living in a Democratic Society" as a starting point, tell us about an event or experience that helped you define one of your values or changed how you approach the world:

"Empathy is not simply a matter of trying to imagine what others are going through, but having the will to muster enough courage to do something about it. In a way, empathy is predicated upon hope."

- Cornel West, Class of 1943 University Professor in the Center for African American Studies, Princeton University

Essay-

"Empathy is not simply a matter of trying to imagine what others are going through, but having the will to muster enough courage to do something about it. In a way, empathy is predicated upon hope."

It was just another day at school when my best friend came up to me and said, "Gaurav...I need to talk to you." The tone of her voice surprised me. The usual carefree smile had been replaced by an air of depression. Deducing that something wasn't quite right, I asked her what was wrong. After a few moments, she replied tearfully, "I attempted suicide yesterday!" A long minute of uncomfortable silence followed in which I tried to recover from the shock and envisage as to why a person who I thought had the best in life, who was always upbeat and cheerful had suddenly fallen off the edge. I enquired about what the reason was and gradually, she began pouring her heart out to me.

She had been in a relationship with a guy for almost a year, when she discovered that he had been cheating on her and broke up with him. She had got over him and they had not been in touch for over a year. Then one day, out of the blue, the guy had tried to contact her, and when she did not reply, he sent her a vulgar and humiliating message. It was a sad coincidence that my friend's mother had her cell phone at that point of time. She was shocked to read the message and reacted violently, admonishing and beating up her daughter.

"I tried to explain that it wasn't my fault but mother wouldn't listen. No one understands me! I was distraught. So, I slit my wrist", she said, her eyes now filled to the brim with tears. I was shaken by her story. I realised that she needed to be reassured that people who mattered to her loved her too. I comforted her reiterating the fact that it wasn't her fault but also emphasised that no matter how tough life is, suicide is never the option. Over the next few days, I convinced myself to spend more time with her and ensured that she felt better about herself, rebuilding her self-esteem bit-by-bit. I also persuaded her to talk to her mother and when she did, her mother realised her own fault. Today, my best friend is back to her usual sweet self and has promised me never to even contemplate suicide again.

This event helped me understand that empathy is not about being aware of what others are going through, but about lending a helping hand and actually doing something to improve the condition of the other person. It is imperative that while offering advice, you ensure that the other person feels better about herself but at the same time ensure that she learns from her mistakes. Helping people overcome their problems is good as it not only makes them feel better but also teaches you what mistakes not to commit in life. Empathy is indeed about overcoming the inertia and summoning the willpower to reach out and offer sympathetic solutions to the problems confronting others.

EF_Susan - / 2,365 12  
Nov 13, 2010   #2
It was just another day at school,when my best friend came up to me and said, ...

A long minute of uncomfortable silence followed ,
in which I tried to recover from the shock and envisage as to why a person who I thought had the best in life, who was always upbeat and cheerful, had suddenly fallen off the edge.

I inquired about what the reason was, and she gradually began pouring her heart out to me.

... when she discovered that he had been cheating on her, so she brok e up with him.

It was a sad coincidence that my friend's mother had her cell phone at that point of time.

I realized that she needed to be reassured that people who mattered to her, loved her too.

I comforted her, reiterating the fact that it wasn't her fault, while also emphasizing that no matter how tough life is, suicide is never an option.

I also persuaded her to talk to her mother, and when she did, her mother realized her own fault.


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