//WELAS ASIH : A FUNDAMENTAL ISLAMIC VALUE TO ENHANCE EMPATHY

WELAS ASIH : A FUNDAMENTAL ISLAMIC VALUE TO ENHANCE EMPATHY

Farida Hidayati (farida_hid@yahoo.co.id)
Faculty of Psychology of Diponegoro University, Semarang, Indonesia

ABSTRACT

Welas asih (Javanese word. It means compassion) is a universal sense that has become a need for everyone. In Islam, it is suggested to read bismillahirrahmanirrahim, which means In the name of God who is merciful and compassionate, before starting an activity. Developing compassion enabled the emotional balance to grow and increase happiness. When a person is on a difficult state, helpless or any discomfort state, what one needs is compassion. Compassion is relatively a new approach in psychology which initially giving more emphasize on disorders and on how to reduce it. Along with the development, it has led to a positive psychology that emphasizes on the growth, strength and virtue of human potential. As a virtue, welas asih needs to be examined further in order to become an alternative solution to increase concern for others, or often called as empathy. Empathy is the ability to feel what other people feel. One can be more empathetic towards others because he feels a sense to reduce the suffering felt by others. The writer assumption based on this topic is, one can be more empathetic if one has strong compassion in oneself. Compassion within oneself that will burst outside to others, since one cannot love others before one is contented with the compassion that one has for oneself. This compassion that burst outside to others will enable an individual to be more empathetic towards others.

Keywords : welas asih, compassion, Islamic value, empathy.