Being empathetic can be different from being kind and seeing diversity not differences
Updated: Jun 11
Recently I watched a short clip of the 2022 Miss Earth Pageant where the last contestants were asked a final question which was the same for all and they had to answer it within a minute or so. It was brought to me by the Youtube algorithm, probably because the winner was Korean. I am sure my Youtube knows I am Korean. haha.
Anyway, the final question that was asked to the final contestants was;
"What is one thing that you want to correct in this world and how would you correct it?
While everyone talked about climate issues, education, human rights, ignorance, and selfishness, which I thought were all great answers, I really liked the final answer from Miss Korea. Am I being a little biased? (Well, call me patriotic AND biased. LOL)
Mina Sue Choi, a communications student representing South Korea, answered:
"If there is something I could correct in this world it would be being empathetic."
I quite liked how she clarified being empathetic is not the same as being kind.
"We often mistake kindness as being empathetic but what being empathetic is putting yourself into someone else’s shoes and when it comes to climate issues and other issues in this world one has to be empathetic."
Before we do something about our climate issues or about education, I strongly agree with the idea that one needs to be empathetic first in order to make any changes. When we truly see the point in our heart, it will help us take action that can make real changes and it also gives us the understanding and power to continue through.
She continued with her answer;
"You really need to see how the other person perceives this world, you need to understand their pain by being in their shoes and that, I feel like the first with being empathetic, kindness and empathetic can be different."
Here is the clip where you can also hear the answers from other contestants.
I never heard of Miss Earth before, so I asked my AI assistant. This is what Miss Earth is if anyone is curious.
Miss Earth is an international beauty pageant that focuses on promoting environmental awareness and conservation. It was first held in 2001 and has been held annually since then. The pageant aims to empower young women to be environmental ambassadors and advocates for sustainable development. The contestants are judged based on their beauty, intelligence, and commitment to environmental causes. The winner of the pageant serves as the spokesperson for environmental organizations and campaigns around the world. Miss Earth is one of the three largest international beauty pageants along with Miss World and Miss Universe.
Diversity, not Differences
I see. That's what Miss Earth is about. We live in 2023. I feel like it's about time that we stopped this kind of 'beauty' contest. Somehow it just feels a little inadequate. It actually reminded me of the acceptance speech made by Park Eun-bin, a Korean actress who won a grand prize in one of the recent TV awards.
She was in a drama series called Extra Ordinary Attorney Woo, which was very popular both in Korea and also on Netflix worldwide. Park Eun-bin played the title role of Woo Young-woo, a female rookie attorney with autism, who is hired by a major law firm in Seoul. Her award speech became very popular on Youtube as it touched many people's hearts.
I loved it too.
During her speech, she shared her initial hesitation on taking up the role of lawyer Woo Young-woo, as she believed that her approach could have caused “unimaginable hurt to someone.” She explained,
“It took a considerable amount of time for me to muster the courage to portray ‘Woo Young Woo’ on screen. As an actor, I was deeply concerned about the impact that my portrayal of the character could have on the audience.
As she continued, you could really feel her sincerity as well as the dilemma she was in taking up this role.
I was afraid that my interpretation of ‘Woo Young Woo’ might offend or hurt someone. Throughout the process, I made a conscious effort to examine my own biases and prejudices towards individuals with autism and lawyers.
Overcoming the challenges and setbacks I faced while working on this project was a truly enriching experience. It was a great relief to complete the work and to have learned so much about myself and the world around me along the way.”
However, what I loved the most was when she talked about acknowledging each individual's unique traits as diversity, not as differences.
“I did not aspire to change the world through my work, but rather to foster a kinder heart within everyone and to encourage people to appreciate each other’s unique traits as diversity, not as differences."
Here is the full speech on Youtube. Also if you would like to see the full Speech Script, check the link below.
Well, I started off with being empathetic by Choi Mina Sue, then to a rant that we should stop beauty contests to 'let's see each other's unique traits as diversity not as differences.'
It is possible because it is a blog! Haha. You can just ramble about anything. But I really enjoyed the speech by both and I thought I'd share them here too.
I hope you enjoyed it too and thank you for reading!