Empathy. A Virtue or a Brand

*updated* When you do for others, do you want something in return? Do you seek out and expect recognition for what you do and then plead humble gratitude for such acknowledgement? Which in of itself is contrarian to being humble.  A true charitable hero or humanitarian philanthropist does for others without the hoopla and at times insists on anonymity.

They do for the benefit of others or community because they know it just needs to be done. Their heart acts first and their head follows through. A simple act of kindness without fanfare, because it’s the right thing to do. An empathetic helping hand because it’s needed with no expectation of reciprocity.

Moral excellence, a standard of right is virtue. Virtue as it’s defined by Merriam Webster.

The aforementioned acts of empathy are truly definitive measures of virtuous intent.

And then you have the empathy brand ambassadors of their companies, services or themselves. They are in the business of appearing to be kind and working hard for another because it plumps the company bottom profit line and boosts their ego of worthiness in their immediate families and communities. There is a lucrative business in being empathetic or an empath of people’s vulnerabilities. This is not virtuous intent, it is on point brand building.

I know of too many selfish people who have mislabeled themselves as ’empaths’. I know of a very elite few who are true empaths. Their mind is wired with the purity and selflessness of wanting to act for the emotional, physical or mental well-being of another…and that’s it. No fanfare, no pat on the back, no sliding into conversations how their day went with what they did, with the intended expectation of being highly thought of by their audience. I am humbled by their authenticity and quiet purposefulness in their acts of generosity for the betterment of another.

Authentic empaths are doing throughout their normal everyday life, true gestures of kindness and selfless acts for others. Sometimes, you’ll never know because they don’t think there is anything extraordinary in what they’re doing. They just do it because it needs to be done.

Those others do it for selfish and self-grandeur praise and acknowledgement to build themselves up in the eyes of their hopefully adoring audiences. Their perceived power of self-worth and societal worth is rooted in the adulation and validation they seek from others.

But it is fake sincerity. While they can do good things which benefits their intended audience. It does not come from a place of true empathetic tendencies. It is a strategically motivated measure of corporate goodwill falsely labelled as empath predisposition.

The act of being empathetic is not necessarily virtuous. Virtue is an inherent intention to affect benefit in another’s life. It is as natural as the virtues of being honest, loyal, courageous, and compassionate.

There is a tenderness of grace, virtuous people have. It is not their brand. It is their truth.