Empathy – Part 1 ~ What is Empathy?

Empathy – Part 1 ~ What is Empathy?

Empathy can be one of those incredibly difficult things to wrap our heads around ~ yet I strongly believe if we haven’t been brought up with it, then we can learn what it is and how to use it.

That’s the key – empathy can be learned by anyone. It is an invaluable tool in all aspects of life.

I was born empathic as part of my spiritual gift, but still read books and educated myself on Empathy itself as a young adult. If you’re thinking ’empathy isn’t relevant to me’ – here’s a statement of fact to consider – one of the most common links between those with behavioural disorders, sociopaths, psychopaths and those with antisocial personalities….is they lack empathy. So you can bet it’s incredibly important ~ the World wouldn’t be in the current state it is in if those attempting to govern it had more Empathy (which makes you wonder what label the majority of politicians would receive ~ sociopaths would be my guess 😉

It doesn’t matter whether we have empathy, only that we know how to have empathy when its required.  Empathy enables us to understand another person’s experience and form a connection with them, without judgement or prejudice. Its about listening and truly understanding that person.

The definition of empathy is the ability to put yourself in someone else’s shoes. To experience something from their point of view and it is exclusively about their feelings, NOT your own. Empathy allows us to step into a person’s shoes, gain an understanding of what an experience was like for them and to then step out again and use that information to guide our own actions & behaviour. It is not the same as kindness, pity or sympathy as empathy is more about understanding and being non judgemental/lacking ego.

Empathy can really help with the following issues:

1. Seeking to understand someone better

2. If we find ourselves constantly arguing with a partner, family member or friend

3. If we struggle to connect when someone we care about is in pain

4. If we suffer from anger issues, need to calm our temper or manage our emotions better

5. If we need to work out how best to make a complaint without causing drama

Empathy can be difficult because we automatically want to find similarities when meeting new people. How often do you think ‘oh I did that, or I experienced that’ and it makes you feel better about another person, to know you have a shared experience?  Shared experience is a perfectly natural response, but not necessarily the best one……and it isn’t an empathic response. So, whilst it communicates things about you, that doesn’t create a safe space for other’s feelings to be heard & understood. Empathy requires putting our own selves aside for just a moment.

I’ll give some good examples of Empathy in the next blog and a few easy tips on how to start using it in your own life. I guarantee, it will open your mind, make you feel better and make you feel more connected to those you care about. Until then, thanks so much for reading and have a fab week!

Lots of love, Krissy xxx

 

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