Brene Brown, in Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead, writes, “If we can share our story with someone who responds with empathy and understanding, shame can’t survive.”
i’ll go even further. when one of our life adventures, no matter how awful, is received with empathy, we feel accepted for who we are and where we are. that acceptance is powerful and a form of love.
i went to my psychiatrist yesterday. recognizing how my depression can be a drag on Mary, i not so eloquently asked him, “any suggestions along the line, obviously when i’m in a bad space, it’s also a bad time for Mary. any suggestions along that line?”
dr. rogge replied, “…have some empathy for one another…just acknowledge it; that’s all you have to do.”
simple. yet, at times so difficult.
i recognize when i’m in a bad space, i am so wrapped up in myself. it is hard to see anything. i can imagine the difference it would make if i could say something like, “i recognize that when i am in depression, that it’s a hard time for you. i wish i didn’t have to drag you through it. when i do, it brings me sorrow as i’m sure it does for you, too. i wish that didn’t have to happen.”
or perhaps from the other side. “i recognize the depression puts you in a horrible place. that place is not of your choosing. when you get taken to that place, it makes me sad. i wouldn’t wish this on anyone.”
both of these statements ooze empathy. they acknowledge the wretched state and do it with out judgement. being on the receiving end of either of these statements, would make the situation feel a little less heavy and i would feel a little more accepted, a little more loved.
one thing that has become clear to me is the power of our group, that being the people who suffer with mental disorders. we tend to seek solace with one another. we unknowingly and unwittingly become a support structure, a shoulder to lean on. its that willing ear, an understanding being, someone who has walked a similar walk. that makes it easier to leap to the feeling of, “been there, done that, i understand.” that generates strong feelings of belonging and empathy. those feeling give us a feeling of connectedness, that connectedness we as humans all desire.
so in closing, i offer up a challenge; act out of empathy today. in doing so, you will be taking a small step towards making the world a better place.
Beautiful. Advice not only for those of us suffering mental illness but anyone really. What a lovely read.
Thank you. Hope you have a day full of empathy.
I do not know what suffering the person who comes to me has gone through and/or is going through now. My responsibility to them is to be Loving, Understanding, Comforting and Kind. Look at the word that I spelled by using the first letter of those four words.
wow! your friends and acquaintances sure are lucky!
said this the utmost respect and care and that attitude is invaluable.
This is a wonderful post! I actually did a kindness challenge the other day with my friends on facebook. I told them to wave and say hi to three random strangers. I won! But only because I was the only one playing ….anyway at least I got several people to laugh. I pulled up to them in my little beat up car at stoplights, waved while I was singing and dancing to my music, yell “Hello! It’s a beautiful day isn’t it?” …most people laughed, smiled, waved back, one woman was so excited and had a 30 second conversation with me at the red light about the wonderful weather we’ve been having. One grumpy man stared at me from his big ol gas guzzlin truck and shook his head, well poop on you grumpy! Don’t have any fun! you’re loss! The point was to spread the happiness of a beautiful day! Get people to think twice about being so serious. Enjoy life! Be kind to each other! And kindness begins within yourself! BE KIND TO YOU!! Keep up the great work, I love you blog!
¡¡¡a good for you!!!
you described how i beat my social anxiety. I said hi too strangers. i didn’t care if i got a reply. sometimes i got a chatty one, other times i got the goms, grumpy old men. I soon realized they were have a bad day. after doing that for a month, i started to do something that i had never done before, crave social situations.
so again, ¡¡¡a good for you!!!
Good for you! Rock on! Again healing begins within, no one can do it for you. People can guide you, make suggestions, talk, listen and assist but it is you who has to take the first step. Congratulations!