Empathy

100_2304Being able to feel and identify with someone else’s feelings, needs or thoughts

When a good man is hurt all who would be called good must suffer with him. Euripides

People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Bonnie Jean Wasmund

Small deeds done are better than great deeds planned. Peter Marshall

    It could be said that a person with no empathy has no heart. Empathy implies that we can relate to what another person is going through. It is as though we tap into their feelings. We can relate to what they are feeling.

    Some people easily empathize with others. They tune into the feelings and plights of others and are drawn to caring about them. Others are able to empathize when something horrible or tragic happens to loved ones, friends or neighbors. They re-focus their attentions from what they would normally be doing and direct their thoughts and energies toward those they love. We can become empathetic when tragedy strikes on a major scale such as in hurricanes and tornadoes. Feelings of empathy are contagious under certain circumstances. Many Americans on a massive scale reached out to New York when the World Trade Center was attacked on “911”.

    There are those who do not know what it is to empathize. They are unable to create the feelings within that would allow them to empathize. These individuals are missing some basic ingredients. They are indifferent, apathetic, cold, and detached when it comes to relating to the needs and hurts of others. Something is missing in their background or their makeup such as a warm and nurturing family or there may be psychological flaws that prevent them from empathizing. A lack of ability to empathize, probably carries with it shortcomings in having a normal conscience, moral values, principles and so forth. They will lack in self-esteem and self-worth.

    Having and experiencing feelings and actions of empathy goes along with the practicing of the Golden Rule. If we are concerned for the needs and feelings of others, the implication is that they too, will be concerned for our needs and feelings. It becomes a cooperative effort of strength. Ideally, friends and neighbors will care for and take care of each other. This builds strong, close and secure neighborhoods and communities.

    A well developed, balanced, and mature person experiences empathy and compassion. As we grow and mature as human beings, we will increasingly be concerned about the needs and concerns of others. As we become secure in who and what we are, we turn our thoughts and attention to others. Poor self-esteem and self-worth prevent us from reaching out to the needs of others. It is hard to love others when you cannot love yourself.

Challenge:  If you do not “care” for the person who lives inside you; it is hard to care much about the needs of others. Everything you think or do is affected by your inner relationship with yourself. It is critical to develop a harmonious and balanced relationship internally, before you can be well-adjusted externally. It starts at home. You need to put the time and effort into developing a sound and positive sense of self-esteem and self-worth.   

WisdomWhen a good man is hurt all who would be called good must suffer with him. Euripides

Spiritual: (NIV)

For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline. II Timothy 1:7

The Lord is gracious and righteous; our God is full of compassion. Psalm 116:5

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort… 2 Cor 1:3

It is hard to comprehend the compassion and love God has for us. He loves us so much he willingly sacrificed himself for us. God is perfect in every way. He has no “self-issues”. He is not lacking or wanting in any way. If God had weaknesses with self-image and self-esteem as we do, imagine what the world would be like. There would be no hope. However, He is perfect. His way is perfect. His plan for our life is perfect. We must trust him.

Prayer:  Help me to let go and let you. Help me to grow in faith and trust. Help me to turn things over to you. 

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