Standing Up to Live This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

“How vain is it to sit down and write when you have not stood up to live.” That is what Thoreau said. When heard, most people interpret this saying to connect to only writing. I find that there is another deep meaning that stands out to me. I connect it with empathy. If one cannot write because they had never felt that specific way before, they cannot stand up for those who need comfort. Everyone enjoys empathy with another person, for it gives them the feel of being a person, breathing and real.

Empathy is not sympathy. Sympathy is seeing one suffer and to feel bad for them. Usually, that person showing sympathy is glad it didn’t happen to them. Empathy is knowing exactly how a person feels, and one will try to comfort the person in need of empathy. Stand up to live. Stand up and show empathy. To gain empathy, one must live. Just as it is vain to write without knowledge of the topic, it is vain to learn and give others comfort when they go through the same scenario.

Empathy can grow a person’s mind. One gains experience by living as many others are. Knowing how the person feels and thinks about the situation can help one become wise in their discussion with the person. It may take a while for the suffering to understand their struggle, but with someone to empathize with them, they can usually get over their state of mind quicker. People with empathy learn and connect with literature, music, and art better. Those aren’t the only benefits. One always feels better when they uplift another. Empathy is the link between two worlds with the same past.

Peace will never come. Mankind is too cruel. But we can limit conflicts with empathy. We are less vain, for we know there are others that are like us in many ways. We are, after all, human. Narcissism causes many wars. People become closer friends through empathy. Comfort is something many people look for. It gives them a sense of being alive.

Empathy is not feeling sorry for someone. It is feeling the soles of one’s worn shoes, and knowing how many miles and trails they have trekked. The future can be more peaceful if we can stand up and live. Many people read The Diary of Anne Frank, but how many can relate? How many can empathize? We live for a reason. We live to serve others. Stand up and help others. Stand up to write another chapter that contributes to the tome of time.





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