The importance of empathy…

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.

-Psychology Today

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,

Aundie

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About author

Aundie Donohue
Aundie Donohue 83 posts

Aundie comes to IMO from a career grounded by fashion and design. "My enthusiasm for this work started when I studied fashion in the Lone Star State and later in Paris— the City of Lights". Aundie is a wardrobe stylist, clothing designer, eBay entrepreneur and project manager with Mary Kay, JC Penny, Neiman Marcus, Elle Magazine , Blue October to name a few.

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3 Comments

  1. AnnAbbitz
    March 04, 19:24 Reply
    I completely agree with this! I have always preached to my children that you should never, ever assume that you know what someone else is going through! It's always important to take a step back, imagine what it could be like to be going through whatever it is someone else is going through, and then try to extend them the courtesy you would want to be shown to you in that circumstance. Too often we shoo people off or completely disregard their feelings when we should do exactly the opposite. The world would be a much, much better place for it.
  2. janice2
    March 13, 11:00 Reply
    This blog has so many good points to it. For starters, people really have lost their sense of empathy. As someone who constantly deals with the public, I'm amazed with how bad people treat others when their working. Just like you have things going on in your life, so do the people ho serve you. Showing compassion sure would make things a better world.
  3. Thom Slade
    June 22, 21:10 Reply
    What keeps coming to mind is how we teach empathy to our children. We certainly need to model empathy for our children, but that part of a child's grey matter doesn't kick into gear until the mid 20's. So getting our kids to empathise with us when the stress of work life and dishes mounts up might and will drive us crazy. We have to work on patience and wait for them to leave home for a while before they "get it" and hopefully help with the dishes during the holidays. Thom

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