Understanding people’s actions, even when hurtful, rarely have anything to do with you. It’s easy to read into the negativity of others & see it as a gap to our personality or challenge to our ego. Yet this type of reaction can trigger unnecessary stress & prevent you from focusing on the positive things in your life. People are people; there’s never a need to link their behavior to your happiness. Knowing this gives you freedom to feel the confidence you deserve. It helps you to be more attuned with people´s emotions (not their reactions), therefore helping you to be more empathetic with their needs – or lacks – for becoming the person they want to become. Being empathetic is not just putting yourself in the other´s position & try to help, it is much more so. It´s being the channel through which people around you become better at being themselves, regardless of their attitude.
What I mean about empathy being a gift or a curse, depends solely in the way we approach altruism itself. Now I know it can be emotionally (and sometimes physically) draining to be aware, at all times, of other people´s feelings, but, we should NOT & I repeat should NOT allow others´ burdens to load our own, because if we do, there will be two helpless people instead of one. Empathy is, by no means, limited to times of chaos, rejoicing wholeheartedly with others´ achievements is a big part of aiding people in becoming their best, as well as bettering our emotional & spiritual selves. “Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep”- Rom. 12:15
“Shared joy is a double joy; shared sorrow is half a sorrow”- Swedish ProverbWe are all broken, people are broken. All of us. Every last single one of us. And when you´re sitting in your car & that person sitting beside you is at the light, staring off into the distance, waiting for red to change to green. They, like you, have a piece that does not quite work right & that´s OK! But remember that when your´re sitting across from someone at the table & you are talking about “talk”, there´s a piece in every single one of us that is broken. That is slightly or mighty failing. Know people don´t want you to ask, because no one wants to be failing…but if you can remember, in that moment that they too feel like you do, if you can remember with your words that seep under the skin & puncture tympanic membranes, if you can remember & use words that are kinder, gentler & more compassionate, you can create a space in every moment, to heal the hurt. – Erik
We have to understand that we are not here to change or judge people. And I am also not saying this empathy “no matter what” approach is imprinted in our DNA, as with everything, it takes practice & perseverance, but it´s certainly achievable, not to mention the joy it brings to our souls & others. Definitely worth a shot.
“The truth of the matter is behind our façades & emotional barriers, deep down inside we are very much alike, we are motivated basically by the same fears & desires…You don´t know what you would be like if your challenges were different. It´s all about empathizing with people”- Jeannette Walls
“When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives mean the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain & touch our wounds with a warm & tender hand. The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief & bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing & face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares”- Henry Nouwen
Empathy: a gift or a curse? you decide.