There are many different things that make someone human and therefore allow them to have a human experience and one of these things is empathy. This is something one can have for themselves and something that can extend outwards and towards other human beings.
It enables one to mirror another person’s pain and what they are going through emotionally. And while this could be towards another person, it could also go out towards a whole country or an area of a country.
One can also feel a general empathy towards animals and feel what they are going through during their suffering as a result of other human beings or when they are receiving treatment for a wound. So in this sense, one can feel empathy towards just about anything on the planet.
For example, if someone is a tree surgeon or has lived in nature for all or most of their life, they might feel a connection to the trees around them. And so when they see trees being cut down, they might feel a sense of pain or grief at what is taking place.
Now, not everyone on this planet has the same level of empathy: some people connect to what others are feeling, while others can have the same experience, but without the same intensity.
There are also people on this planet who have no empathy whosever. And although some of these people are shut off and unlikely to cause too much harm to other human beings; there are others who are a threat to the people around them and even to the whole planet.
When it comes to these people, they are typically described as psychopaths. People who are extremely narcissistic can also act as if they have no empathy for anyone or anything.
When it comes to people who have empathy or a lack of it, their choice of career can vary. Of course there is going to be the potential for people who have it and those who don’t it to work in the same kind of environments.
However, there is also going to be certain hot spots for people who have it and people who don’t. And some people can feel empathy more towards animals than they can towards humans.
This could cause someone to work with animals and be very caring and loving towards them. However, when it comes to humans, they might be seen as distant and uncaring. And act with a general disdain for the suffering of their fellow human beings.
People with high levels of empathy could be working as a: doctor, nurse, fireman, therapist, charity worker, personal trainer, artist and vet amongst other things.
And for people who have low levels of empathy, they can often be found in the corporate world and committing crimes for instance. But while the actions of a criminal are easily observable, when it comes to what goes on in corporations, it can take a while to be known.
In order for someone to do well in those kinds of environments or to take the life of another, in the case of a recognised criminal, it is rarely in their best interests to feel another’s pain. To make a decision that is the best for the company, regardless of if it will harm a few human beings or a few thousand will be a lot easier if someone can’t feel.
This is why it is often said that having emotional intelligence is rarely an asset in the world of business. Because while it can sound as though it would be; having the ability to make quick decisions and decisions that are in the interest of the company and not the people in it, is often all that matters.
So certain parts of the modern day world are set up to support people who have no empathy. And then there are also areas that: support, nourish and encourage empathy. As the saying goes - the world is made up all of types of people.
Different parts of the body have different uses and while the heart pumps blood around the body, it is also the place where empathy is experienced. And like most things in life, if something is not in balance, it naturally ends up being out of balance. One can have a shower and the water can be just right, but it could also be too hot or too cold.
And when it comes to empathy, the same thing can occur. In this situation ones heart could be closed or it could be wide open. So one can end up having no feeling or they can end up feeling too much.
The heart is where pain is felt and this can include: rejection, abandonment, loss, betrayal and grief. And there are three options that one can choose to take in order to deal with this pain. One is to repress it and to deny that it is there (no empathy); the other is to stay stuck in the pain and to become overly sensitive (overly empathic) and the other is to seek the assistance of a therapist and process the pain (balanced empathy).
How ones deal with their pain will often depend on the environment that they are in. So if one is an adult, it might be possible to seek the assistance of a therapist; that’s if they feel safe enough to do so. On the other hand, if it is a child that is in pain, the option might not be there; as it is not safe enough.
This could be pain that one felt as an adult when they lost a family member or a friend. Or it could be the pain they felt during their childhood and this could have been the result of being emotionally, physically or verbally abused or all three.
And to protect themselves from the pain that they were in, they shut down all feelings and through this process their heart gradually began to close. At the time it wasn’t about one consciously choosing to lose their empathy, it was simply a matter of survival.
Through one being around people who were like this, the only loving thing around them could have been animals. And this can be why some people feel more empathy towards animals than they do to humans.
So these emotions and feelings from the moment or moments that were traumatic remain in their heart and the other organs in their body. And while their heart might be functioning normally at a biological level, its other functions, such as allowing one to feel, are not working.
One is operating in life without it and is no longer a whole human being, they might be responding to life intellectually and through their body’s needs, drives and instincts, but their heart is out of action.
This is not to say that if someone has no empathy it is always because of trapped emotions and feelings. However, if one has an emotional build up within them, a natural consequence of that is to shut down emotionally.
So if one has difficulty showing empathy or has too much, it might be a sign that they have trapped emotions and feelings that need to be released. This can be done with the assistance of a therapist or healer who will allow one to face them and gradually release them.
Oliver JR Cooper
Author of 26 books, Transformational Writer, Teacher & Consultant.
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That which is contained within these articles is based on my own empirical understanding and is true for me at the time they were written. However, as I continue to grow, what I perceive as the truth will inevitably change and as a result of this - parts of these articles may not reflect my current outlook.