12 Days of Christmas [Day 9]

Gift of Empathy

  1.  the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.

syn: compassion.

Often confused with sympathy, empathy is rarely expressed. The ability to understand and share the feelings of another is to put yourself in their shoes which for most people is hard to do, unless you have been through very similar circumstances. Even in such cases, because personalities come in various forms, different people handle different situations differently. A mild situation may be devastating to someone else.

Just like patience, empathy has to be deliberately practiced, as there is a high probability to quickly judge situations based on our own experiences. There’s a lot to consider when assessing a situation and the feelings of others must be taken into priority. Even if you do not know what to do, there are few things you should however NOT say;

  • I know how you feel… (no you don’t )
  • At least… (nope don’t even think about it, two wrongs don’t make a right)
  • Don’t cry… (say hello to the Niagara falls)
  • Why did you…? (not the best time for the blame game)
  • God has a plan… (Yes, He does, but he also has compassion)

Worst of all, don’t say nothing. Silence is deafening and it gives you the opportunity  to over think. When in doubt, ask how you could be of help instead of doing all the wrong things and hope for quick recovery from the situation. In the end your presence may be all that is needed and  most importantly, acceptance, the first step on the road to recovery.


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