On Empathy: How We’re Showing Up In All The Wrong Ways For Those We Love

Usually, people during difficult moments and trying times tend to watch out for and be wary of awkward or negative feelings. These feelings vary from anger, frustration, grief, and disappointment. They usually are a byproduct of a challenging phase or problematic situation in a person’s life.

Our Lack Of Empathy

When we try to lighten the heavy mood as a form of escape or defense from an awkward or angry assault, we manifest a lack of empathy. When people around us communicate their disappointments and we narrow in on our defense, we become confrontational. The situation becomes stilted and one-sided. Communication and relationship suffer. Again, because of a lack of empathy.

Running Away From Pain

Running away from pain is a natural human defense or a form of self-preservation. But the fact is the problem doesn’t call for us to fix it or at least the person communicating their pain doesn’t want us to. More often, people share the burden of pain, because they need empathy.

The Need For Someone To Listen

Because usually, we are hard put to solve the matter, we think we need to solve the problem. People share their problems more because they want someone to listen to them. They want to feel cared for and heard. People want to feel safe and to belong. No one wants to feel alone. How do we about being empathetic?

See The World As Others See It

We need to put our own visions, perspectives, and opinions aside to see what the person is going through in a situation. This means getting off our high horse or adjusting to a different vantage point to actually visualize what the circumstances of the person are in a specific problem.

Be Nonjudgmental

Because we are running away from pain and negativity, we try to deny the person their own access to their feelings. We try to waylay the direction of the communication or lighten the mood because it feels uncomfortable. We do our best to protect ourselves from pain and frustration.

Understand People’s Feelings

If we cannot listen to our own pain, our yearnings, and “pesky” frustrations, we cannot accommodate other people’s negative feelings as well. We simply cannot do for other people what do cannot do for ourselves.

Communicate Understanding

Please refrain from painting the gray canvass a silver lining. We do this by beginning our rebuttals or stabs at optimism with “at least you” or “it could be worse”. These are the last words a person who is in a difficult situation needs. Instead of these opening lines, “It sounds like you are in a hard place. Tell me more about it.”, might make the person feel better.

Our Need For Empathy

We all need a listening ear and a caring soul to help us in difficult times. Empathy takes practice and sets an example for other people to do you the same service as you do them. When we are heard and accepted, we appreciate the usefulness and need for vulnerability and we come to respect people’s boundaries and share in everyone’s need for love and empathy.