Empathy vs. Sympathy

These days, everyone has troubling times. Our world has progressed to create immediate demand, instant gratification, and the necessity for near perfection. Regardless of who you are, what you do, or where you live, at some point you are going to be in a position where you are down or someone close to you is down. This video from Collective Evolution that my good friend, Jenrose, shared is vital in navigating through the emotional landmines of connecting with someone in their low place.
I am an empath. So much so that sometimes I come off as a “one-upper”, like Kristen Wiig’s character Penelope or a narcissist who needs to make this about me. I’m not a narcissist; my test results say so. But when it comes to someone I care about, I go into immediate fix-it mode. If you tell me you’re thirsty, I’m going to get you a drink of water, damnit! I don’t want you to suffer. I don’t want to see you hurting so I’m going to tell you all the reasons why you shouldn’t. Damn, talk about counter-productive. I’m still learning not to fix everything. It’s a hard habit to break. Having a visual aide like this video shows how meaningless it is to “silverline” someone’s problems, and how powerful it is to say nothing and just be there.
I like to talk. A lot. I think I’m awesome and have very important things to say. And when I get to use my psychology minor, there’s no stopping me! I’m like a cuter Dr. Phil or a sane Dr. Laura. I like to think I’m self-aware enough, though, to realize that I’m talking to hear myself speak. It’s like public masturbation. Sure, I feel real good but everyone else is calling the police.
I’m learning that when someone, anyone, is hurting emotionally, shut up and just be there. Try to connect with them on an empathetic level. They’ve already thought of all the reasons why they shouldn’t feel the way they are, but emotions are like STDs: they always flare up when things are good and impossible to rationalize away (not based on personal knowledge).
The video is short, informational, engaging, and funny so any AD(H)Der should be able to get through it. I think it is especially important in our circles so watch it.
I’ll Shut Up…for now. Watch the video.

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