Empathy is the ability to put ourselves in someone else’s shoes. Usually we equate this to empathizing with anothers challenging or sorrowful experiences. Equally though it can mean to empathize with their positive experiences.
Can you have empathy whilst still feeling totally secure and loving for example?
Today many problems are the result of an inability to relate to each other leading to all sorts of frictions and mis-understandings or from going too much in the other direction and over-empathizing. When we over-empathize we get into problems as we have started to ‘identify’ with others and their situations and lose sight of our own separateness and objectivity. We ‘join-in’ with them creating a negative spiral for us both and we are then unable to provide security or a sense of compassion to them.
In order to empathize we need to be in touch with who we are and with our feelings. The more we are in touch with our selves the more we are able to understand what another may be going through in such a way that we can truly make a positive difference to their lives. Through this we are able to provide the guidance that the other needs without emotionally investing and involving myself.
Empathy allows us to be flexible and fluid with others as we are not feeling pressurized to identify with a particular position and feel secure enough to see things from their point of view without feeling threatened in any way.
“God is supremely compassionate as He is supremely secure. His compassion for us is like that of a parent towards their child. God understands and is there to help us make good and grow in self-respect. God does not empathize with us negatively but positively to bring out the best in us. He sees the problem we are in is all down to us having wrongly identified ourselves with the external world…”