Dr. Marshall Rosenberg, founder of Nonviolent Communication, describes empathy as, “one of the most precious gifts one human being can give to another; our full presence to what is alive in another person when they are speaking to us.” Empathy is being aware of what another is feeling and needing in reaction to something that has happened or not happened. This means we curb our natural reaction to give advice, offer reassurance, analyze, or try to find a solution until the other person confirms that what has been communicated has been completely and compassionately received.
If more and more of us learned to offer this to each other, the global rise in compassion would create an incredible, formidable force of love. For me the first step would be to focus on giving ourselves this presence to cultivate an inner peace, fill our own cup, nurture ourselves, and then be able to show up in life and offer this presence to those around us. The more love, compassion, pleasure, attention, and care we give ourselves, the more we have to share.
(click on collage for closer/clearer view)
Empathy given to ourselves is self-love in action; an applicable method of self-care for the present, and preventative medicine for the future to discourage negative self talk. It’s giving ourselves the time and space to fully connect with our heart, so we can more accurately perceive what is alive in us.
It’s a PAUSE, so we can really SENSE OUR SENSES!!
We can allow the full expression of our feelings, whether they surround a need of ours that we are mourning because it is not met, or celebrating because it is met. It’s a self-acknowledgement of the fact that “I HAVE NEEDS!” I choose to honor them by mourning their loss or celebrating their presence.
How often do we pause and celebrate a met need…even for a moment? We so often are on to the next experience, back to compulsive mental evaluation. Why not revel in the enrichment of a need fulfilled and fully feel the positive emotions?
Empathy can be done within ourselves at any time, so there is no possibility of feeling self-conscious or worrying that we are expressing our feelings more than other people would appreciate hearing. Unfortunately, we usually censor our feelings according to what we think others will accept.
EMPATHY: FREEDOM TO FEEL
To take an empathetic interlude from your mind’s monotonous meandering monologue
Release yourself from your rambling rants of reaction.
Why do you think so many of us require explanation about how to give our selves compassion and consideration? Because we have been trained to think, think, think. Often our learned language doesn’t allow ourselves time to FEEL, because our mind has been programmed to be addicted to our thoughts. Practicing self-empathy increases our capacity to focus on the feelings: the language of our soul, rather than our thoughts: the language of our mind.
We are trained to react when we encounter similar stimulating experiences, like when someone makes an assumption about us, “She only cares about money.” It is possible to reroute our very practiced response of defense, “Who the hell are you to say that?” and deprecation, “They’re right, I am a greedy bitch.” towards empathy, which could sound like this, “Wow I really want to be seen as caring deeply about my clients and also making a living wage to support my family, I feel really hurt when I hear someone make an assumption about me.”
I want cut the cord of reaction and re-wire myself to re-empathize with every new experience, to connect with how I feel and what I am needing.
We RE everything in life….re-experience, rediscover,
re-learn, respond, retell, receive, reawaken, re-live, relapse, regret,
recover, remember, realign, redecorate, redistribute, redesign
The more we do this, the easier we begin to connect feelings to needs, and the more likely we’ll be in a space to allow for inspiration and guidance to find ways to meet our needs. Empathy leads to SHIFTS in our consciousness …an AhhhHA moment of clarity!! Waiting and allowing these shifts to naturally evolve is important for empathy to be effective and complete. You’ll know as they are quite noticeable in your physical awareness of your body.
Release from fear, feel the relief from your care. Then relax into the moment.
From this space of acceptance and peace, I am now way more likely to find creative ways to meet my needs instead of jumping to a solution, frantic for resolution, where I am not coming from an energy connected to my need. I think your soul will appreciate the nourishment of loving on yourself with empathy! It’s a filling of your cup with unconditional acceptance, love and understanding. We so often operate without a full cup, not feeling secure, accepted, and loved. Our emotions bubble out chaotically, creating more stress or conflict. Empathy soothes and gives compassionate comfort to these painful feelings, and helps us show up for life with a full cup of love.
When we react, we can pretty much predict how it’s going to work out for us. When we re-empathize, we open new pathways for CHANGE! Empathy can create a change that leads to enriching your life and having your needs met. The more I practice and the more my cup is filled, the more likely I can give the gift of empathy to another, participate in nurturing the flow of love and empathy going around the world, and live life as a person passionate about practicing peace!!