I hope empathy can be bottled up and sold via Amazon. I will surely buy several bottles and give it to people.
(Photo from the internet)
Why is it so hard for people to emphatize? Why is it so hard for some people to know the right things to say to someone who is hurting, suffering, scared or even to someone who is happy?
Is it perhaps the lack of life experience?
Recently, a friend had a miscarriage...I don't really know how that must feel like. Here's what I said.
"I don't know how it feels to lose a baby. I can even begin to imagine. I don't have the words to make you feel better... But I am here if you wish to cry..."
I'm beginning to realize that some people find it awkward to hear the real answer to " How are you?" Perhaps, they don't know what to say if the answer is more revealing that they are willing to hear.
There is no need to pull words out of your ass to console a grieving person. In fact, the fewer words, the better.
What I geniunely find to be a safe way to emphatize is to ACKNOWLEDGE the problem and give the person as much space and time to deal with whatever it is he/she is going through.
In a sentence...
" I know that you are going through something difficult. Take your time. I am here if you need something."
Not imposing your own coping methods is also very good way to show empathy. People have different ways of coping. Don't accelerate their process because I always believe in "1 step forward, 2 steps back" .
My friend Ria and I, we stay in the dark and pray until we snap out of our own misery. My friend, Cher express it through art. My cousin, MM do it through FB quotes, Some people want to talk it out with the world as their audience. Please don't tell them to shut it because it's "embarrassing".
Just let them be.
Empathy is not only during the bad times. Some people also can't be happy for others. I don't know why! When someone is elated, join in! If you don't feel like joining in, say this..
"I'm so happy to hear that! I have to go but do update me with more of your happy stories."
If you don't empathize with people, expect that they may not also emphatize with you. When this happens, you really shouldn't be surprised.
If you dote on a dog, the dog will wag its tail everytime it sees you. When you ignore it, it won't recognize you as a friend. If animals feel that way, people do too.
My friend and I were chatting and it ended with this sentiment: Empathy is learned.
Question: How do you teach empathy?