Empathy /ˈɛmpəθi/ noun:
The ability to share someone else's feelings or experiences by imagining what it would be like to be in that person's situation.
This is the question I want to ask people, and gather their answers for others to read them.
Just some guy, really, nothing so special.
Perhaps it's just a combination of my curiosity for humans in general and my genuine belief in the power of empathy? Who knows! It would be fair to say that discrimination, even before I knew that an actual word for it even existed, has always been something I've felt uncomfortable with. According to the Myers-Briggs personality test, I'm even an advocate. You got the idea!
Some time ago, I remembered an interview of a personality telling that he was homophobic by the past, until his cousin came out as gay and that in short, because suddenly he knew someone who was gay and heard the man telling his truth, started to reconsider his beliefs, understood and eventually stopped judging. This might sound so simple, but I thought "I wish everyone had a gay friend, there would be less judgments and more understanding.". Obviously, the same applies with all forms of discrimination: racism, sexism, status, age, disability, ... you name it.
This is also inspired by a video of Byron Katie on terrorism. Byron Katie has developed an impressively efficient technique to deconstruct our judgments and beliefs. In this video, she helps a person who is angry at the terrorists of the Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris to see things from the point of view of the terrorists; the person realizes that the terrorists simply have a different and totally understandable idea of how to reach peace and starts to understand them and the actual facts with much more clarity.
Realistically, and despite the thousands of other humans we might meet during our lifetime, very few people will have the chance to meet and hear what an imam has to say, as well as a prisoner, a refugee, a porn actor and a military. I want to meet this whole range of beautiful humans and collect their stories so others can read them.
By reading those stories, I believe that the reader can develop more empathy and understanding for others.
The other thing I love about this idea is that, for those who will contribute by sharing their story, talking openly about ourselves in the most vulnerable way, while knowing that others will read what we wrote, can actually be an incredibly efficient therapeutic exercise!
This is still a "work in progress" idea, it might evolve along the line, and I hope you will find it interesting too!
You got it already, I would like to hear from all kind of people: activists of all types, people who have been rejected by their families and people with the most amazing and healthy family, refugees, priests, imams, sikhs and people who don't believe in any gods, sole mothers, therapists, people who experience paranoia, people with a very high IQ, world travelers and people who have never left their country, homeless people and billionaires, feminists and sexists, people of any race and ethnies and racists, polyamorous people, prisoners, yogis and buddhist monks who spent most of their lives meditating in a temple away from the modern world, sex workers, people with one or several mental/physical disabilities or disorders, new parents, vegans and pro-meat eaters, twins, psychopaths, incels, undertakers and people with addictions, very old people, workaholic, victims of sexism and racism and hate crimes and rapes, hippies, sailors, people who are part of the BDSM/kink scene, war veterans, extro/ambi/introverts, people with OCD, transgender, non-binary and agender or gender fluid people, homosexual and pan/bisexual people and homophobic ones, people who took drugs, who are bipolar or mute, the most normal person (if that's actually a thing?) in the world, who lived in many different countries of very different cultures, blind and deaf people, dwarfs, autistic people, people who committed crimes, people with the most unusual professions, people who grew up with a single parent or parents of the same sex or have been adopted, artists who struggle or who are successful, punks and thugs, hikikomori, drag queens, people who experienced depression, who found love, people with ADHD or ADD, people who are very isolated, who grew up in a very toxic/broken environment, people with AIDS, people who lost their lovers or children, people suffering from anxiety or PTSD, people who cross-dress, people who meditate every day, people who practice tantric sex and people who struggle with their sexual life, fashion victims and people who don't care at all about how they look, astronauts, social workers, firefighters, people who are about to die or who almost died, ...
If you feel like sharing your experience, please feel free to! And/or if you know someone who you think could have something interesting to share, please help by sharing this page!
I publish the stories I've gathered on Instagram, where I encourage you to follow the project to read them whenever I add some more, and you can also read all the stories here on the website.
You can follow the project on the usual social media, Instagram being the most active one. There, you can read the stories while I'm gathering them and be informed when the book will be out. 😊