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Understanding Empathy.

Truth be told, I used to have the thought of not being able to make it to my 36th Birthday. All I am aware of with as much introspection that i am
capable of ... I have made it through dark passages in my life.  I have had near-death experience on several occasions. Yet here i am , despite how the outside world would label me. I know that I am more than that. I am still eager to learn & experience life as much as I can allow it. Now don’t get me wrong. I am not here to glamourise my experience or to yearn sympathy from the public. The intention of sharing what i have experienced and some of the battles that i have brought to awareness is to let others that feel that they are alone .... know that you are not. To friends & strangers that I have crossed path and found comfort, hope and trust when they shared their vulnerability with me, you to have given me comfort as I heal when you heal too.

While I do not think that I am the authority yet in dealing will all the complexities of the human emotions , I can only relate through my own experience in the journey of healing & my commitment to understanding how to be more skilful in advocating the importance of the stigma surrounding Mental & Emotional Health. I know that whatever little effort we put in alleviating the suffering of others can make a huge difference for both giver and receiver . I would like to believe that it is the only viable way to create a better world. A sustainable world.  I have not completely eradicated all the challenges I am facing superficially in life & I don’t think challenges will ever end in life .... but it is letting you know that we are all a work-in-progress and we have more similarities than differences. The fact that we are all not immune to pain & suffering would be  common ground, not separate us.

As we try to rebuild our lives post pandemic & acknowledging that it can only be accelerated by coming as a collective . To do it together. Whatever & whoever you might identify with, there is always something we could offer within your means & wisdom. Offering support & knowing that not everyone is equip with the ability to manage stress, grief, sadness and loss the same way we do, will allow space to understand. 

What motivated me to champion the importance of kindness & empathy is because I have benefited from some of it. In times when the statistics is over the roof with the decline in Mental & Emotional health, The conversation and stigma should be replaced with awareness.  While some of us may seem to have better support structure & resilience,  we can obviously see that many are suffering around us & no community can safely ignore that we can no longer turn a blind eye. We may not be able to change the current reality but we can definitely create cause for tomorrow to be better for others and for us .

We are all not trained or are as skilful enough to “help” those that are experiencing distress but there is one thing that would be able to allow another person that may be suffering to find comfort during vulnerable times. And at times it is not having an answer but allowing a safe space and sincere presence to let them know that it is ok and you are never alone. 

Empathy. As simple as it may sound, is often overlooked or underestimated. While not all of us are born with the natural ability to empathise with what another person is going through ... we can start by several simple things that would go a long way.

I was asked before how do we develop Empathy ?From my personal perception and understanding , it starts by disconnecting any form of judgement and to be open with understanding their experience and reality.  We can never understand what had happen to them to arrive at that state but if you are willing to just be there and offer your presence instead of trying to think of a solution which may not be what they need will go a long way.

Empathy can start by sincerely wanting to know what they are experiencing and offer a safe space to allow them to be heard. One sincere action will create the condition for them to feel less vulnerable until they are ready & feel comfortable for the next best step. 

Ostracising them and turning a blind eye will lead to withdrawal and impact their emotional and mental well being. I have personally lost several acquaintances to  suicide and human beings are not wired to self-destruct. 

This took me a long time to draft and honestly , I have more that i wished to contribute but allow me to begin with this short post so you have an idea about the purpose of advocating about mental & emotional health.  

“ You do not encourage the goodness in others by asking them to change and be good, but to find the goodness in them and allowing it to emerge. “

Since April is the World Stress Awareness Month, let us all play apart is making this a priority. By doing a self-care checklist and also if possible extending some care for each other starting to the closest to you.


Kelvin Kean

Kelvin Tan

Kelvin Tan