They irked me so much during my sickness last month. I even warned few of my family members, shouted at them and reprimanded few of my friends lovingly.
People usually showed their sympathy and started giving examples according to their thinking and understanding of the matter or issue. There were very few who could really understand what I was going through at that particular moment of my suffering. ‘Empathy’, what I was needed, not sympathy from the people around me.
In sympathy, emotions are predominant. The sympathizer relates emotionally with the person concerned. But in empathy the intellect and discerning are predominant. The empathizer focuses on understanding the person’s frame of mind, his/her context, how he/she feels and why. Then it becomes easier for him/her to talk, counsel, console and comfort the victim in a better and successful way.
A week ago I elucidated few encouraging messages that I received while I was in the hospital. And I was elated and strengthened by each of one of those messages because each of those messages reflected the sender’s empathetic heart.
An empathizer always puts his/her feet into the victim’s shoe and try to understand how it feels to be in that shoe.
Just imagine about the person who has lost his/her spouse or children. Consoling that person or a bereaved is all the more difficult as the grief level of a bereaved is the highest in comparison to any other sadness or grief. How can we be empathetic in that case if we do not have any such experiences in our own life?
Let me give an example I just remembered. When my cousin died of an accident and I was weeping for him before flying for his funeral my aunt here in Kolkata was trying to comfort me as she was also in pain. She was saying, “I can imagine how it will feel if my son would have died today. The pain of that mother is so great who had lost her son.” That’s a cry of an empathetic heart. And I have seen her comforting me, my wife and few others at different times. She is the best in doing so.
We had a week for a topic called, “Managing Grief” last year in 2016. I wrote an article where I had mentioned about few things that we should remember while consoling or comforting a bereaved. They were: Listening to them patiently, Giving them a hug, Allow them to weep or wail, Cry with them, Talk less with them, Don’t force them for anything and so on.
I quite liked this statement that I stumbled upon in WordPress:
What is the true essence of therapy? What is a key aspect in loving? What is understanding? The answer to these questions is an ability within self that requires learning and growing, this ability is empathy.
Recently, I came across the term, “Validation through Empathy“. Psychology Today says, “Validation is the recognition and acceptance of another person’s thoughts, feelings, sensations, and behaviors as understandable. We may approve it or not that’s a different matter but we accept and understand the person and his/her feelings.
I have a video which can really make sense and help us all to understand the concept of Validation through Empathy. Let’s watch it.
Whoa! Excellent! Isn’t it?
I have been trying desperately to be a person like that… A person who will not judge other’s frailty but understand and accept his/her actions, emotions and mind. I sensed people feel comfortable with me, sharing their hearts because to some extent I could provide the warmth of that empathy which they desperately need when they are vulnerable. And I will strive more and more to be validating their emotions through empathy.
Dear Friends! Our level of empathy actually determines how good we can be in consoling or comforting those who are going through difficult situations.
Keep reading, keep learning and keep leaving your feedback.