The Goal Of Achieving Happiness Or Contentment Essays

The Goal Of Achieving Happiness Or Contentment Essays

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Going through life, people pursue various endeavours in the hopes of achieving happiness or contentment. These goals and dreams are all driven to pursue some form of wellbeing, whether it is of basic needs and necessities or a more personal goal such as love or success. In some cases, an individual may find that the endings of these endeavours are not what they expected; some may even call them failures. These unfortunate endings leave the individual feeling lonely and isolated, as if not a single being in the world may understand them. A famous author by the name of Lemony Snicket once wrote that “[when one experiences such emotions], the best thing to do in these circumstances is to wake somebody else up, so that they can feel this way, too.” However, as humorous this quote may be, Lemony Snicket’s main objective is to show the value of the ability to understand and comprehend one another’s feelings. This characteristic, otherwise known as empathy, separates humanity from the rest of the animal kingdom in that individuals have the ability to understand and perceive certain situations in another person’s perspective, despite never truly experiencing the exact same situation. Empathy, however, is not a trait that one may be born with. It is not to be confused with sympathy nor compassion, in that the two traits merely illustrate that one feels pity for someone in an inferior situation. Empathy must be drawn from hardship and experience. Through the narrator’s epiphany and newly-evoked sense of empathy from a significant memory, Stephen Dunn explores the concept of true empathy and how it can only be induced through one’s experience in similar circumstances.
In the poem “Empathy” by Stephen Dunn, the narrator ascertain...


... middle of paper ...


...hat the narrator accidentally stumbled upon a sense of empathy, but only after enduring his own sense of misery and sadness. Without any relatable hardships, people could only express sympathy or compassion, in that they would never be able to truly relate to other people’s hardships. People are limited to empathizing with only the similar hardships that they themselves have endured when they take the risk of pursuing self-interest. This further establishes the importance of the unique relationship between personal desires and empathy in one’s life. One is only able to gain the ability to empathize after failing in a pursuit of their own. Through the poem “Empathy”, Stephen Dunn emphasizes the importance of having one’s own stockpile of unpleasant memories from various pursuits gone wrong when it comes to having a sense of truly understanding the plight of others.


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