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Balancing Empathy And Self-Interest

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Without recognizing the value of empathy, I struggled to sacrifice my self-interest which led to me facing difficulty in finding the people that fill my loneliness and who accept me. Grades were important to me, through much of my schooling life I focused on grade prioritizing it over anything and everything else. I put these self-interests above everything else in my life. So, when I was in middle school I managed to make a few friends I should’ve tried to be a better friend, empathizing with them even at the cost of my own interests. But, at that time I hadn’t learned anything about empathy to me, I thought of friends as something I had control over, where I could “Flex and [they’d] dance” (i. 6). I had no concept of empathy, so when the teacher came up to me and told me that those friends were bringing my grades down, I decided to distance myself from them. With no real understanding of the value of empathy I couldn’t bring myself to sacrifice some of my own self-interests and as a result I spent much of those years unable to find friends and escape my loneliness. I was alone, pushing everyone else out just to save my own grades I was left with no one who would actually accept me. I wasn’t able to recognize the value of empathy when it mattered the most, because of that I struggled to sacrifice my own self-interests for my friends which led to me finding myself with no one to fill my loneliness or accept me. I focused only on self-interest and completely ignored empathy, because I wouldn't empathize with others I couldn’t find anyone who would accept me. Because I couldn’t sacrifice some of my own self-interest in order to empathize with others I found myself with a deep sense of loneliness.

However If I was able to recognize that not sacrificing my own self-interests is causing my feeling of loneliness then I could begin to realize the value in empathy. Even after those events I’d find another set of good friends if I just simply waited. However, time flew by and most friendships didn’t last for more than a couple months. No matter how hard I tried nothing seemed to work, I never felt so lonely and couldn’t figure out why people distanced themselves away from me. I was finally able to find my reason in highschool. During a physics class I was able to make a friend, I was pretty happy as this meant that I would have a partner for classes and wouldn’t have to worry about my grades suffering as a result. However, I quickly realized through the very first lab we had together how completely useless he was. Not ever doing any work or helping out the group I wondered whether he even considered how the rest of the group even felt. This was it, this person didn’t care about anyone else, he prioritizes his own self-interest and doesn’t even think about sacrificing his time for others, I realized that this was the same way I looked at others. I never considered how others felt and simply acted on my own interests throwing my friends away when they got in the way of my self-interests and then pondering why no one ever stuck around and why my “phone never [rung]” (i. 7). They never bothered empathize with me and accept me because I didn’t even think about reaching out to them and accepting them. I finally saw that because I didn’t sacrifice a part of my own self-interests I pushed others away and was only left with loneliness. Through this I would slowly come to realize the value of empathy. Recognizing that I was overvaluing and my self-interest and not balancing it between empathy with others, I realized that if I wanted to escape the dread of my loneliness I would have to sacrifice a portion of my self-interest in order to seek out the individuals who would accept me.

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Consequently, through recognizing the importance of sacrificing a portion of my own self-interest, I came to the realization that in order to escape my loneliness and find those who accept me I first had to recognize the importance of balancing empathy with self-interest. Through the person whom I talked to for a short period of time during physics class I was able to recognize why I couldn’t escape my loneliness and connect with others who could accept me. In robotics class I saw a kid whom I met once through family friends. Being the only person whom I knew we naturally started to become friends. I remember him asking one day to borrow a video game that I had. I figured that we were friends for long enough that I could trust him so I decided to lend it to him compromising my own interest, believing that he would eventually return it. Yet, a week goes by and he tells me that a robber came through the window and stole it. I’ll never know if robber actually came in with a ladder, climbed into his room, and only stole the one video game I gave him or not but what I did know was that I he wasn’t even able to apologize. Seeing this I was instantly able to realize that this individual like myself who also prioritized his own self-interests never being able to “imagine [the] life” (i. 17) of another person, resulting in him never sacrificing his own interests for others. I came to I realized that this wasn’t an individual who would fill my loneliness or even accept me and because of that I stopped trying to empathize with him. He made me to come to the realization that because he had an imbalance between empathy and self-interest he only focused on the needs of himself which push me and others away leaving him alone. Ultimately through this person I came to the epiphany that, without a proper balance between empathy and self-interest I wasn’t going to be able to find a way to fill the loneliness that I felt. In recognizing the value of empathy, I found the importance of sacrificing self interests and empathizing with others, this allowed me to come to the realization that in order to escape my own loneliness and find those who accept me I would first have to recognize the importance of balancing empathy with self-interest. I recognized the importance of balancing empathy and self-interest, with this I could begin to find those who will accept me, because I now knew how important it was to sacrifice some of my self-interest in order to empathize with others. This will eventually allow me to escape my own loneliness.

Ultimately, accepting the truths that I learned, I could recognize the value in empathy and the importance of balancing it with my self-interests. Learning the balance between the two allowed me the ability to escape my own loneliness and find those who accept me. The epiphany that I came to allowed me to recognize the importance of the balance between empathy and self-interest, meaning that if I wanted to escape my loneliness and find those who accept me then I also need empathy alongside my self-interests. During a group project for social studies I as usual found myself with no group. It was then that a person called out to me and asked if I wanted to be in their group, I was ecstatic and replied with a yet immediately. During that single moment I realized that this person was someone who chose not to partner with their friends and sacrifice that self-interest of theirs to ask me to join because I didn’t have a group. I saw that person as someone who empathize with others easily and because of what I learned through my previous experiences I decided to try my hardest and empathize with his dedication to the project ignoring the math test that was coming up the next day. Shortly after that group project we stopped talking and never really became friends but through him I realized that Inorder to escape my loneliness I had to balance my empathy and self-interest to find “Those who didn’t laugh at those of use who fell” (i. 41-42). I didn’t bother to empathize with those who laughed and didn’t care about others. Instead, I looked for those who didn’t laugh, ones I could empathize with and knew would accept me. Accepting my epiphany, I could sacrifice a part of my self-interests and only empathize with those who accept me, allowing me to escape my own loneliness. I recognized the importance of balancing empathy and self-interest, this allowed me to find those who accept me because I could sacrifice some of my self-interest in order to empathize with others which let me escape my loneliness.

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Balancing Empathy And Self-Interest. (2022, February 17). Edubirdie. Retrieved December 2, 2023, from
“Balancing Empathy And Self-Interest.” Edubirdie, 17 Feb. 2022,
Balancing Empathy And Self-Interest. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 2 Dec. 2023].
Balancing Empathy And Self-Interest [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Feb 17 [cited 2023 Dec 2]. Available from:
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