Empathy for another
Updated: Aug 5, 2019
Google Says: em·pa·thy [ˈempəTHē] NOUN the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.
So a lot of feeling and emotion too with Empathy right? But, how do you show empathy towards another without getting wrapped up into the other's emotions? It's not easy especially if the other person is somebody real close. You will have your own emotions towards the person first of all. Now add in that you may be taking on board the other person emotions with yours may bring on a whole lot of unwanted emotions to you. So being aware that this is happening is the first step in helping yourself, and you are the only person that can do that.
With me, I can end up with some heavy feelings due to taking on others feeling. For example, let us say you're having a good day. You bump into a friend that is feeling down in mood. After talking for a while you both part but now you don't know why you are feeling a little down yourself. You have taken on board the emotions of your friend. You showed empathy for what they are going through but did not separate their feelings from yours. Being aware when this may be happening is not easy and comes with practice. Trust me I'm not an expert and still practice, but it's nice when you can have them chats and come away not feeling down yourself. Tell yourself "I feel for (whatever the name), but I'm not going to take on their emotions as mine". Just by saying this helps me. You are acknowledging that you have recognized the fact that you could have taken on the negatives of the friend and said you don't want to spiral down yourself due to some negative aspects of the conversation. Now I am not saying show no feelings or Empathy. If you are a compassionate person and love your friend that's a given right? In fact, by you showing Empathy and compassion you are helping your friend out too. It shows them that you care.
I want to tell a quick story about Empathy that happened to me. I was the friend in this case and is the reason why I wrote this blog. I went to my therapy session and was not having a very good day anyway. I was pulling all my "Tools" out and had been for the past couple days. When I got there Judith, my therapist, and I started just chatting while she made tea. Then it was down to the real work. I had gone a little dark, which is a horrible feeling and my therapist showed me Empathy and love. She said, "I can't begin to know how you are feeling because I have not been there" Her expression along with her words showed love, caring, and Empathy. I cracked and started crying. I don't know about you but if I get shown compassion, love, and Empathy it makes things feel better. It's better to feel loved then feel alone. I have been really down in the past and been shouted at and that just makes you spiral. Or saying to somebody "you just got to snap out of it" That really does not work at all and can make a person suffering go deeper and that is not good at all when you are in a dark place. So have empathy and compassion but be aware of the emotions side of things. That's what makes a good therapist. I have been through many many therapists in the past. And apart from a Psychiatrist I had when I first moved to, none of them showed the kind of Compassion, Love, and Empathy like Judith.