While there are some people who find it easy to empathise with others, there others who are not in the same position. What this shows is that although everyone is a human being, it doesn’t mean that they operate in the same way.
Still, it could be said that this is not the only difference, as there are differences when it comes to how people look. However, regardless of what someone looks like on the outside, it is not always as easy to realise that they are different on the inside.
At A Distance
If one was to meet someone on a night out or whilst they were on holiday, for instance, they might not be able to work out if they are able to empathise. In fact, this might be the last thing on their mind, and it might not matter either way.
That could then be the only time one comes into contact with them and they will then carry on with the rest of their life. On the other hand, when one spends a certain amount of time with someone they will have the chance to see whether they have the ability to empathise.
This can be something that takes place when one is at work or in a relationship with someone. Through the time that they spend in their company, they will be able to see how they respond to life.
But even if one doesn’t focus on how someone behaves, it doesn’t mean that they won’t pick up on what is taking place. The reason for this is that one can unconsciously absorb what is taking place.
If one does think about another person’s behaviour, it will show that they are consciously aware of how they respond to life. One may find that they are drawn to them or they might feel the need to keep their distance.
When one doesn’t think about another person’s behaviour, it is still going to have an effect on them. In this case, one will either be drawn towards them or they won’t, and this can take place without them thinking about why this is.
One could find that they are drawn to people that have empathy and that they are repelled by people that don’t. There is then a strong chance that they have the ability to empathise with others.
If, on the other hand, one is drawn to people that don’t have empathy, it could be a sign that they are in the same position. But while this can be the case, there are always exceptions, and this is why it is not always going to be this black and white.
Therefore, one could find that even though they have the ability to empathise with others, they are still drawn to people that are unable to do so. And even if one doesn’t have the ability to empathise with others, they may also be drawn to people that can.
There is also the chance that it isn’t this extreme, and this could mean that one can have more empathy than the people they spend their time with. Or they can spend their time with people that have more empathy than they do.
It could be said that the ideal will be for one to be in a position where they have the ability to empathise with others. Through having this ability, they will be able to put themselves in another person’s shoes, so to speak.
This is then going to be something that will have a positive effect on their relationships and it will be a lot easier for them to experience intimacy. Ultimately, they will be able to understand another person’s point of view and this is going to be a real asset.
If one is unable to empathise with others, they are going to be in a position where they don’t have the ability to put themselves in another person’s shoes. And while they may still have relationships with others; it is likely to be a challenge for them to experience intimacy.
It would then be easy to say that not only is better for someone to have empathy; but that the more they have, the better their life will be. There will also be the effect that their behaviour has on the people around them and the world at large.
However, while having the ability to put oneself in the shoes of another can be seen as something positive, it doesn’t mean that this is always the case. What it will come down to is how one uses their ability to empathise.
If one allows their heart to direct them and their mind is put to one side, it can cause them to do more harm than good. One on hand, they can end up harming themselves, and on the other hand, they can end up harming another.
For example, if one has the tendency to take on another person’s emotional state, they are going to be used to feeling drained. So instead of being able to tune into how another person’s feels and to maintain their sense of self; they will end up being sucked into their reality.
As a result of this, one will lose the ability to think clearly and they will end up in the same position as the other person. What this shows is how important it is for one to have the ability to contain their empathy as opposed to being controlled by it.
Also, when one is empathising with another and they are caught up in their emotional experience, their actions can be defined by their need to feel better. This can then stop them from looking into what would be the best action to take.
And while this might have a positive effect on another, it could also make the situation even worse. But if one is caught up in their need to feel better, they won’t be able to put their heart to one side and to think clearly.
One way of looking at this would be to say that this shows how important it is for one to be an integrated human being. When each part of them is working together, it will be a lot easier for them to function.
If one finds it hard to maintain their sense of self when they experience empathy, it can be a sign that they need to develop boundaries. This can take place with the assistance of a therapist and/or a support group.
And if one finds that they tend to help others as a way to change how they feel, they may also benefit through seeking external support. This may be a sign that the need to develop emotional strength.
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Oliver JR Cooper
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.