Part 3 Empathy
Do you feel me?…
Empathy is all about our ability to understand and share the feelings of others, and it is one of the most important habits of your mind and heart that you can cultivate.
We all want to belong, to feel loved, and understood, and to practice empathy for others is one of the best and truest ways that we can achieve this love that we want.
Think about when you were a child and in pain. You reached out to a family member, probably a parent, and told them how you felt. Perhaps you showed them where your cut or bruise was, or you described to them something that had happened, and how it had upset you and hurt your feelings. Hopefully that family member will have listened, and soothed you with kind words such as “it’s ok” “I understand” “you poor thing” and helped you with a hug, a kiss, a smile or something similar. You felt affirmed, you felt understood, and all of a sudden, you felt a little better. Just look at mothers and fathers with young babies and children- they are often able to do this in seconds! It’s very impressive.
And as we grow up we hopefully still have close family and friend members whom we can go to who will empathise with us: they will listen to our problems, perhaps offer advice and potential help and solutions. But most importantly, they say with their very presence, “I get it, I understand, that must be very difficult” and “I’m here for you.” With that, we feel supported, connected and understood. This is incredibly important for our health and wellbeing.
But somewhere along the line, we all can be guilty of failing to practice empathy with others, and most often, with ourselves. By looking at this for a moment and understanding it, we can gain a deeper understanding of how we can make a positive change, starting today, towards helping others and ourselves in a more authentic and real way.