Recently, I was told by a close friend that she wished I could be more empathetic toward her.
I wasn’t sure exactly what to do with that so I gave it thought. My friend deserved that from me. First, I looked up the word to make sure I truly understood what it meant.
Empathy – n. the ability to understand, recognize and/or share the feelings of another.
I paused. Hmmm… this didn’t exactly describe herself at all, though she may believe otherwise, but that’s neither here nor there. She should be as empathetic as she wants to be.
This did however answer my doubts. I believe I very often understand and recognize feelings in others and will act accordingly. The thing is, I act accordingly how I choose to, not by what is expected of me. In the past, this same friend has chastised me for not letting her dwell and feel sorry for herself. I don’t do that. For myself or anyone else. I also believe in letting others deal with the consequences of their mistakes while being a friend with positive energy and words of inspiration I can share.
These words and positive energy however seem to have meant nothing to her. She told me to leave her alone and wished I could be more empathetic.
And that was where I found the problem lied. It wasn’t that I didn’t have empathy, it was that I didn’t have the empathy she wanted. I’m still not sure why she felt the need to tell me what I was lacking but it was made clear – I wasn’t doing something that she wanted or expected me too.
Who wants to play that game? Not me.
I think it is important to understand and recognize the feelings of others.
As it is equally important to allow people to empathize with you in their own way.
Otherwise, you’re just asking for pity and charity.
There’s a big difference between recognizing someone’s feelings and feeling sorry for them…