Saturday, April 12, 2014

E is for Empathy

Empathy  As defined by Merriam-Webster

the feeling that you understand and share another person's experiences and emotions : the ability to share someone else's feelings

There is no way to measure the value of friends.  One of the byproducts of friendship is empathy.  Empathy is not the same as sympathy.  Sympathy is when you have emotions or feelings about the trouble your friend is going through.  Empathy is when you can actually feel the emotions a friend is going through.

For whatever reason, I feel things very deeply.  This is not always a good thing.  I feel very strongly about injustices to others.  It physically hurts me to see someone treated badly.  This would cause me to become too involved in the problems of others.  I thought I had to "fix" things for them.  I actually had to unlearn this behavior.  I have learned that feeling the hurt or disappointment of others did not mean I had to do anything more than empathize.  I can share and acknowledge the hurt, but I now draw the line there.  This was not an overnight process.  It has taken YEARS.  I still fumble at times, but I am a better friend when I can recognize the needs of those around me and respond with compassion. 


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