Empathy invites us to imagine how we would feel if it had happened to us. Our friend's suffering makes us think about ourselves. It is relative to our experience and preferences. We become like Goldilocks, testing out our friend's bed. To illustrate, let's take an event - a miscarriage - and see how empathy can fall apart.
The Bed is Too Hard (I'm having a hard time relating).
Maybe we will never have a miscarriage ourselves. We're male or maybe joyfully childfree and o
Some people say "justice" but they're thinking vengeance or punishment. The desire for vengeance or punishment is not compatible with compassion - although I think we should be compassionate for those who clamour for these.
If justice means "equitable, impartial and righteous" then justice is a form of compassion.
Compassion means to meet suffering with love. It does not mean to be permissive or indulgent. What we call evil, is suffering passed on to someone else. I
It is possible to feel sadness and to transcend it at the same time. I have been fortunate enough to meet a few truly wise people. None of them were indifferent. I have also met people who wished they were wise but have mistaken indifference for equanimity. If equanimity is the ability to surf big emotional waves without wiping out, indifference is the refusal to get into the water. Many years ago I was introduced to the idea of spiritual bypass - this is when we try to
It's ironic that people use the term compassion fatigue to describe the depression, sleeplessness and anxiety that may come from being immersed in other people's suffering. Compassion is the antidote to the burnout and stress caused by overuse of empathy. The Folly of Empathy Empathy is to "relate" to the events that caused else's suffering - to try them on and think about how I would respond if they were happening to me.
The first disaster is that I am now embodying the
There's a moment when you're holding something the other person will not want to know. As you wait for them to answer the door, or come into your office or pick up the phone it feels like you're about to hand them an exploding package. A lot of energy is about to be released, you want to be able to absorb it and take it to ground. The key to this is humility and compassion. Humility will allow you to not know what the news needs beyond the facts. Let the facts be said as g