Little Things: Empathy – How It Feels To Be A Homeless Person!

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How do we usually look at a homeless person? – I am sure that we get some varied and mixed answers when we post this question. A few popular answers which I have heard

  • A complete disdain cos it represents people who are careless and do not want to work
  • A flow of sympathy cos they understand the pain these guys go through
  • A note of judgement cos we all know that judgement is easy
  • Pay some money so that we escape from the constant feel of guilt that we did not do something

This post is not about making us try and give some money to the people we feel for. Nor is this post about urging anyone or judging anyone as to why they are not taking part in an act of charity.

The image talks about Richard Gere taking the role of a homeless man and he talks about how he went unnoticed by the so many people walking around him. I guess in a busy city it is sometimes natural that we don’t notice people around us. In fact, I don’t think we would notice a completely well dressed man or woman sitting next to us since we are so caught up in our own lives.

I think it is really nice that Gere’s heart went out for these people who are living life on a continuous struggle. But then it makes me wonder as to what a longer term solution for all of this is?

  • Is it in giving out money to charity and poor people?
  • Is it in serving soup at the soup kitchen?
  • Is it in educating these people and offering them a way for livelihood ahead.

Taking nothing away from Richard Gere, I sometimes wonder the way we have or the people I know have responded to the homeless people and I realise that there is a fair mix of the first three points we talked about. And then it makes me realise that maybe as individuals we are too small to make that one huge difference we can imagine.

But then the point of this whole post was to understand that there is a world outside of us. There are people suffering and struggling and trying to reach their day to day means. We are not here to urge to spend money or even feel for them. But the thought is to acknowledge and maybe realise how blessed we are to have our basic necessities meted out. And to maybe realise that it is not such a bad thing if the server doesn’t get the soup hot enough. Maybe it says that a little empathy and acknowledgement can go a long way.

We don’t perhaps need to pretend as homeless people to realise that. Maybe it is in just opening a side of us which we deliberately shut down not to feel a few emotions. Maybe those emotions have an answer and maybe those emotions really mean something and are telling something to us.

It might be worthwhile to listen to them sometimes.

8 Responses to "Little Things: Empathy – How It Feels To Be A Homeless Person!"

  1. Mostly when I look at them I think that these people are simply content in living a life like this. They do not want to work to improve their situation, but then maybe they wanted to but they don’t have the means. You are right a little empathy goes nowhere. Next time I will let my emotions have a free run☺

  2. Sometimes, we really need to go out of our way to experience being poor before we can truly understand what they are going through everyday. This article made me realize how lucky I am. Although, I cannot blame those who do not give, I salute those who try to share what they have.

    1. True George, sometimes we really need to go out of our way to understand a few things that dont come naturally to us. Maybe that is what our hero did in this situation he talks about. Empathy is in no way a simple or an easy thing and sometimes it does take a lot to be empathetic to people and being a lot more patient than we usually are. Having said that, sometimes it is worth all that extra effort cos it does bring out something really beautiful as well.


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