Empathy is the ability to not only understand but also share the feelings of others.
Not everyone has this ability. Not everyone connects with the hurt, sadness, etc… experienced by others, especially when they inflict that kind of pain on others.
I had a happy moment this last week when empathy clicked for a client. When she was able to be de-escalated and reflect on how the other person may feel, Offended.
Progress comes in many forms.
I had a rough week last week. Honestly, I was consumed with my emotional mind, not so much my compassionate/empathetic heart. It took a conversation with a friend and a long talk with God to snap me out of myself. Looking back, my week may have been better if I had focused less on myself and more on others, more on God. I might not have struggled as much if I had offered more compassion, love, empathy. Maybe, if I had given it over to God, having compassion, love, empathy wouldn’t have seemed like a foreign concept.
I sometimes find myself getting so caught up in teaching others that I forget that old saying: You can’t pour from an empty cup.
Just as I am taking the long, hard road to teach these girls that had not heard the word empathy in the past, such a meaningful skill, I cannot neglect to utilize it in my own day-to-day life.
I have realized that I can not necessarily teach anyone empathy. What I can do is demonstrate the love and compassion that Jesus has given to us through example. From the time a baby is born, they learn from the example of their caregivers.
Truth is, we are not alone. We serve a God who gave us the greatest example of empathy! Jesus cares for us. He robed Himself in flesh, suffered everything we suffer, bled, and died for the sins of all mankind. I’m so thankful that because He bled, died, and is alive forevermore! I have a hope and a future! I’m so glad that I serve a God that connects with my hurt, pain, weakness and takes it all away! That’s better than empathy!
*Original Image by A.B