Empathy, love, and compassion are words that are thrown around in all different sorts of contexts; but what do they really mean? And how can you tell the difference between feeling empathy vs just saying it because you’re supposed to? This article will help you tell the difference between genuine empathy and love, and rhetoric and mockery.
Why It Matters
Throughout his campaign, Donald Trump promised to be tough on bad hombres and criminals. He vowed to build a wall on our southern border, deport millions of undocumented immigrants, slam refugees seeking asylum, insult women in any way he sees fit, roll back marriage equality rights for LGBT Americans, and make healthcare more expensive for millions of Americans who can’t afford it. In short, he has done everything in his power to look like a heartless monster—and now we have learned that looks can be deceiving. When it comes to caring about others (especially those who aren’t privileged), Donald Trump is a fraud wrapped in paper-thin rhetoric filled with mendacity after mendacity after mendacity.
How To Spot the Frauds
You’ve got to have empathy in your heart to even recognize a fraud. After all, con artists prey on people by creating an illusion of intimacy (think Bernie Madoff), or by outright lying (think all politicians). To combat frauds, you need to know yourself well enough to tell when others are trying to take advantage of you emotionally—or financially. That’s where genuine love comes in because it gives you a strong sense of self-worth that helps you make better decisions about who deserves your trust—and who doesn’t. And whether someone is truly empathetic toward you may come down to how they talk about themselves and their life story . . . as demonstrated with Donald Trump above!
Where Does Trump Fit In?
While Donald Trump has often been criticized for his rhetoric and his mockery of various groups, he is a unique politician in that he doesn’t take himself too seriously. If anything, it might be argued that his frequent criticism of others stems from a deep-seated insecurity about himself—which is another reason why Trump’s rhetoric and mockery tend to fall short of genuine empathy and love. In general, when you hear or see someone making fun of someone else or using language that seems designed to tear down rather than build up, you can safely assume they don’t have much empathy. After all, if they did feel genuinely empathetic toward those they are criticizing or mocking, they would probably try to think about how their words might make those people feel before opening their mouths. Instead, many people with limited levels of empathy seem perfectly content making fun of others and tearing them down with insults because they themselves have low self-esteem. In other words, their own lack of self-worth drives them to try (and often fail) at getting laughs by putting other people down—even if only verbally.
Spiritually the ego is a tool for building self-esteem within false personality, and in today’s world, it also serves as a weapon that creates incivility, division, and destruction. Americans have become egotistical because we’ve been taught that winning or having an agenda is far more important than good-hearted discourse and honest communication. You can begin to reverse these effects by simply paying attention to yourself when ego hijacks your emotions or actions. Notice what you’re feeling and why you’re feeling it—are you feeling egotistical? Are you thinking about your agenda? Are you using mockery? Is your rhetoric full of disdain and misdirection or is it lacking sincerity? -MM