An empathic way of being can be learned from empathic persons. Perhaps the most important statement of all is that the ability to be accurately empathic is something which can be developed by training. Therapists, parents and teachers can be helped to become empathic. This is especially likely to occur if their teachers and supervisors are themselves individuals of sensitive understanding. It is most encouraging to know that this subtle, elusive quality, of utmost importance in therapy, is not something one is "born with", but can be learned, and learned most rapidly in an empathic climate.
What evidence is there that we've adequately empathized with the other person? First, when an individual realizes that everything going on within has received full empathic understanding, they will experience a sense of relief. We can become aware of this phenomenon by noticing a corresponding release of tension in our own body.
Marshall B. Rosenberg
I'm very very happy for my hardships and misfortunes: they build character and make you a better person. Even if I think it's something you have to carry with you, it's definitely something that makes you more empathic towards other people, makes you understand people and relationships so much better.
'In empathic listening you listen with your ears, but you also, and more importantly, listen with you eyes and with your heart. You listen for feeling, for meaning. You listen for behaviour. You use your right brain as well as your left. You sense, you intuit, you feel.' ... 'You have to open yourself up to be influenced'.
The other thing Aron found about sensitive people is that sometimes they're highly empathic. It's as if they have thinner boundaries separating them from other people's emotions and from the tragedies and cruelties of the world. They tend to have unusually strong consciences. ... they're acutely aware of the consequences of a lapse in their own behavior.
When I have been listened to and when I have been heard, I am able to re-perceive my world in a new way and to go on. It is astonishing how elements that seem insoluble become soluble when someone listens, how confusions that seem irremediable turn into relatively clear flowing streams when one is heard. I have deeply appreciated the times that I have experienced this sensitive, empathic, concentrated listening.
Carl R. Rogers
When the other person is hurting, confused, troubled, anxious, alienated, terrified; or when he or she is doubtful of self-worth, uncertain as to identity, then understanding is called for. The gentle and sensitive companionship of an empathic stance... provides illumination and healing. In such situations deep understanding is, I believe, the most precious gift one can give to another.
Empathic listening takes time, but it doesn't take anywhere near as much time as it takes to back up and correct misunderstandings when you're already miles down the road; to redo; to live with unexpressed and unsolved problems; to deal with the results of not giving people psychological air.
As a direct line to human feeling, empathic experience, genuine language and detail, poetry is everything that headline news is not. It takes us inside situations, helps us imagine life from more than one perspective, honors imagery and metaphor - those great tools of thought - and deepens our confidence in a meaningful world.
Naomi Shihab Nye
The way of being with another person which is termed empathic...means temporarily living in their life, moving abut in it delicately without making judgment... to be with another in this way means that for the time being you lay aside the views and values you hold for yourself in order to enter the other's world without prejudice...a complex, demanding, strong yet subtle and gentle way of being.
Empathic listening is so powerful because it gives you accurate data to work with. Instead of projecting your own autobiography and assuming thoughts, feelings, motives and interpretation, you're dealing with the reality inside another person's head and heart. You're listening to understand. You're focused on receiving the deep communication of another human soul.
Today's consumers are eager to become loyal fans of companies that respect purposeful capitalism. They are not opposed to companies making a profit; indeed, they may even be investors in these companies - but at the core, they want more empathic, enlightened corporations that seek a balance between profit and purpose.
People whose integrity has not been damaged in childhood, who were protected, respected, and treated with honesty by their parents, will be-both in their youth and in adulthood-intelligent, responsive, empathic, and highly sensitive. They will take pleasure in life and will not feel any need to kill or even hurt others or themselves. They will use their power to defend themselves, not to attack others. They will not be able to do otherwise than respect and protect those weaker than themselves, including their children, because this is what they have learned from their own experience.
Some people are highly empathic, some people are telempathic, or telepathic, some are clairempathic, while others are claircognizant, clairvoyant, clairaliant, clairaudient, clairgustant, clairsentient; and a very few are all of the above. The great amount of confusion and inner strife that accompanies one or more of these conditions, can be calmed and soothed first by acceptance, second by the humility to be okay with the fact that you are stuck with it forever, and third by honing these conditions to their best possible uses and most polished states.
C. JoyBell C.
So, as you can readily see from what I have said thus far, a creative, active, sensitive, accurate, empathic, nonjudgmental listening is for me terribly important in a relationship. It is important for me to provide it; it has been extremely important, especially at certain times in my life, to receive it. I feel that I have grown within myself when I have provided it; I am very sure that I have grown and been released and enhanced when I have received this kind of listening.
Many people think in terms of either/or: either you're nice or you're tough. Win-win requires that you be both. It is a balancing act between courage and consideration. To go for win-win, you not only have to be empathic, but you also have to be confident. You not only have to be considerate and sensitive, you also have to be brave. To do that-to achieve that balance between courage and consideration-is the essence of real maturity and is fundamental to win-win.
The evolution of culture is ultimately determined by the amount of love, understanding and freedom experienced by its children... Every abandonment, every betrayal, every hateful act towards children returns tenfold a few decades later upon the historical stage, while every empathic act that helps a child become what he or she wants to become, every expression of love toward children heals society and moves it in unexpected, wondrous new directions.
Peace requires something far more difficult than revenge or merely turning the other cheek; it requires empathizing with the fears and unmet needs that provide the impetus for people to attack each other. Being aware of these feelings and needs, people lose their desire to attack back because they can see the human ignorance leading to these attacks; instead, their goal becomes providing the empathic connection and education that will enable them to transcend their violence and engage in cooperative relationships.
Marshall B. Rosenberg
When you learn conflict-resolution skills in the playroom, you then practice them on the playground, and that in turn stays with you. If you have a combative sibling or a physically intimidating, older sibling, you learn a lot about how to deal with situations like that later in life. If you're an older sibling and you have a younger sibling who needs mentoring or is afraid of the dark, you develop nurturing and empathic skills that you wouldn't otherwise have.
Empathy, evidently, existed only within the human community, whereas intelligence to some degree could be found throughout every phylum and order including the arachnida. For one thing, the empathic faculty probably required an unimpaired group instinct; a solitary organism, such as a spider, would have no use for it; in fact it would tend to abort a spider's ability to survive. It would make him conscious of the desire to live on the part of his prey. Hence all predators, even highly developed mammals such as cats, would starve.
Philip K. Dick
Economic activity is no longer an adversarial contest between embattled sellers and buyers "In the distributed economy, where collaboration trumps competition, inclusivity replaces exclusivity and transparency and openness to others becomes essential to the new way of conducting business, empathic sensibility has room to breathe and thrive. It is no longer so constrained by hierarchies, boundaries of exclusion, and a concept of human nature that places acquisitiveness, self-interest, and utility at the center of the human experience."
On the whole, we're a murderous race. According to Genesis, it took as few as four people to make the planet too crowded to stand, and the first murder was a fratricide. Genesis says that in a fit of jealous rage, the very first child born to mortal parents, Cain, snapped and popped the first metaphorical cap in another human being. The attack was a bloody, brutal, violent, reprehensible killing. Cain's brother Abel probably never saw it coming. As I opened the door to my apartment, I was filled with a sense of empathic sympathy and intuitive understanding. For freaking Cain.
I never wanted to be an actor. My dad was an actor, and he never brought joy home, so I didn't view it as something that I would want to do. But I got fired as a secretary, and then I started studying, I started doing it just to earn money. And it took me a long time to learn to love it. And what I loved was telling a story. I tried to avoid making plays or films that weren't telling a story that I felt was important. I discovered in the process that it makes you more empathic because you have to enter someone else's reality and learn to see through many other people's eyes.
The theory of positivity teaches us to, "always look on the bright side" and to, "point out the bright side to others". However, any highly empathic individual will know, that this mindset alienates us from other people. What connects us with other people is the ability to identify with what they are feeling and thinking, regardless of whether or not we've actually been in their place before. If you want to point someone out to the light, first you need to get into their dark cave with them, light a candle, and say, "Hey, I'm here with you and look, remember what the light feels like?" That's the kind of positivity that actually bears real change in people, in the world.
C. JoyBell C.
Peace is not merely the absence of warfare, any more than true health is simply the absence of disease. Nor is peace simply a quiet state of equilibrium-impossible to achieve in an evolving system. Though refraining from harm is an essential first step, lasting peace is created by actively redressing harm done. Peace is a creative process of actively joining I and thou into a co-creative we. It requires authentic communication, empathic listening, and wildly creative solutions.
The act of compassion begins with full attention, just as rapport does. You have to really see the person. If you see the person, then naturally, empathy arises. If you tune into the other person, you feel with them. If empathy arises, and if that person is in dire need, then empathic concern can come. You want to help them, and then that begins a compassionate act. So I'd say that compassion begins with attention.
The third facilitative aspect of the relationship is empathic understanding. This means that the therapist senses accurately the feelings and personal meanings that the client is experiencing and communicates this understanding to the client. When functioning best, the therapist is so much inside the private world of the other that he or she can clarify not only the meanings of which the client is aware but even those just below the level of awareness. This kind of sensitive, active listening is exceedingly rare in our lives. We think we listen, but very rarely do we listen with real understanding, true empathy. Yet listening, of this very special kind, is one of the most potent forces for change that I know.
Carl R. Rogers
The environment is not an "other" to us. It is not a collection of things that we encounter. Rather, it is part of our being. It is the locus of our existence and identity. We cannot and do not exist apart from it. It is through empathic projection that we come to know our environment, understand how we are part of it and how it is part of us. This is the bodily mechanism by which we can participate in nature, not just as hikers or climbers or swimmers, but as part of nature itself, part of a larger, all-encompassing whole. A mindful embodied spirituality is thus an ecological spirituality. An embodied spirituality requires an aesthetic attitude to the world that is central to self-nurturance, to the nurturance of others, and to the nurturance of the world itself. Embodied spirituality requires an understanding that nature is not inanimate and less than human, but animated and more than human. It requires pleasure, joy in the bodily connection with earth and air, sea and sky, plants and animals - and the recognition that they are all more than human, more than any human beings could ever achieve. Embodied spirituality is more than spiritual experience. It is an ethical relationship to the physical world.
The argument has long been made that we humans are by nature compassionate and empathic despite the occasional streak of meanness, but torrents of bad news throughout history have contradicted that claim, and little sound science has backed it. But try this thought experiment. Imagine the number of opportunities people around the world today might have to commit an antisocial act, from rape or murder to simple rudeness and dishonesty. Make that number the bottom of a fraction. Now for the top value you put the number of such antisocial acts that will actually occur today. That ratio of potential to enacted meanness holds at close to zero any day of the year. And if for the top value you put the number of benevolent acts performed in a given day, the ratio of kindness to cruelty will always be positive. (The news, however, comes to us as though that ratio was reversed.) Harvard's Jerome Kagan proposes this mental exercise to make a simple point about human nature: the sum total of goodness vastly outweighs that of meanness. 'Although humans inherit a biological bias that permits them to feel anger, jealousy, selfishness and envy, and to be rude, aggressive or violent, ' Kagan notes, 'they inherit an even stronger biological bias for kindness, compassion, cooperation, love and nurture - especially toward those in need.' This inbuilt ethical sense, he adds, 'is a biological feature of our species.
Approaching the trail, he broke through the thicket a short distance ahead of the Empath. Causing the Empaths horse to startle as the surprised rider jerked on the reins. Cap was equally surprised to find a young girl before him instead of an older, experienced male Empath. Cap brought his horse to a quick halt. The young girl pulled a small knife from her boot and cautioned him. "I don't know where you came from, but I'm not easy prey.' Her voice shook slightly with fear as she raised the knife. Not sure how to proceed, they stared silently at each other. Cap had always believed that Empaths didn't carry weapons. This pretty, chestnut haired girl couldn't be more than 18 years old. Her long straight tresses covered the spot on her jacket where the Empathic Emblem was usually worn, causing Cap to doubt she was the one he sought. Not wanting to frighten her any more than he already had, Cap tried to explain. "I'm Commander Caplin Taylor. I'm looking for an Empath that is headed for the Western Hunting Lodge.' "My name is Kendra; I am the Empath you seek.' She answered cautiously, still holding the blade. A noise from the brush drew her attention as a small rodent pounced out, trying to evade an unseen predator. Cap was just close enough to lurch forward and snatch the dirk from her hand. Her head jerked back in alarm. "Bosen May has been mauled by a Sraeb, his shoulder is a mass of pulp." Cap spoke quickly not wanting to hesitate any longer. That was all Kendra needed to hear. She pushed her horse past him and headed quickly down the trail. "Wait!" Cap called after her, turning his horse around. Reining in the horse, she turned back to face him annoyed by the delay. "Are you a good horseman?" Cap asked, as he stuffed her dirk in his jacket. "I've been in the saddle since I was a child." She answered, abruptly. "Okay so just a few years then?" Cap's rebuke angered her. Jerking the horse back toward the trail, she ignored him. "Wait, I'm sorry!" Cap called after her. "It's just that I know a quicker way, if you can handle some rough terrain." "Let's go then." Kendra replied, gruffly, turning back to face him. Without another word, Cap dove back into the brush and the girl followed.