The importance of empathy…
…during a divorce, breakup and life in general.
What is empathy, you ask? Is it love? Is it compassion? How about the ability of being a good listener? Or is it something else? In order to love or be amicabable in a relationship, or to the human race at large, empathy is an important skill that must be practiced and can be improved. To get a better understanding of the concept, let’s start out with a definition.
Empathy is the experience of understanding another person’s condition from their perspective. You place yourself in their shoes and feel what they are feeling. Empathy is known to increase prosocial (helping) behaviors. While American culture might be socializing people into becoming more individualistic rather than empathic, research has uncovered the existence of “mirror neurons,” which react to emotions expressed by others and then reproduce them.
People have different levels of sensitivity, types of experiences, challenges and feelings. Everyone is going through some sort of struggle, challenge or difficulty, because of this one of the best ways to connect with another is through empathy. Taking the necessary time to genuinely connect and understand someone else’s experience is priceless. In my opinion it’s one of the best gifts we have to offer one another. Within this frame of mind we are genuinely connected and are better able to identify certain insights and perspectives that can truly benefit one another.
Empathy is extremely important during a divorce or break-up, especially so with our divorcees who may not share the same views, opinions, emotions or experiences. So instead of being angry and taking anger out on someone that you are going through a difficult time with, use the shared experience of the break up to your advantage. Take a minute to stop, breathe and remember that they too are facing their own particular sets of challenges. If you practice this then you might very well find some common ground of peace for yourself with that individual.
How can one be more empathetic?
Being empathetic requires two basic components – effective communication and imagination (To be able to perceive differently). The best way to be more empathetic is by becoming a great listener. Also, by treating others the way we would like to be treated.
Start this weekend off beautifully by trying on someone else’s shoes, if the opportunity presents itself, and see if this relationship improves and becomes more authentic.
This one’s for you Hawking,
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