Empathy the ability to understand the feelings of another. I can remember one of the first times I was aware of how I intuitively could feel what others were going through. Almost as if they were my own feeling. It was the early 90’s, I was watching “Glory,” a movie about the first all African American regiment to fight in the Civil War. I started crying in the opening scene and didn’t stop crying throughout the whole movie. I remember not only being disturbed by the injustice but also being so emotionally wrapped up in how helpless I felt.
Frankly, it was my EMPATHY strength that was showing up.
Not to be confused with pity or sympathy; empathy is a superpower that gives you an instinctive ability to understand what someone else might be going through. Empaths are observant about how others feel, even if not expressed. They hear the unvoiced questions and needs. More importantly, they sense the tone; whether it’s one person, a small group, or a large crowd.
This is a strength of mine that I love, but for others who share less of the empathy strength, it can be grossly undervalued. I have seen it with clients and myself. As a result, empathy gets a bad rap. Seen as too emotional, too expressive, too sensitive, too soft. People are negatively labeled as moody or overly involved. Personally, I have been told that I think too much about other people and have my thoughts shirked when asking someone to step into the other person’s shoes.
What I have learned, is that people only need to wrong or label someone when they feel threatened or uncomfortable with them. Emotions and feelings can be difficult for some people to acknowledge and express. Their need to make you wrong is on them. This can be hard to remember when someone is trying to shut you down.
I recently was completing an assignment from my business coach and mentor. This assignment required me to ask individuals in my life to tell me what they see as my three super-powers. While this was and still is incredibly difficult to ask for, what I learned is that those closest to me see my Empathy as one of my superpowers!!!
What it reminded me of, which is what I tell my clients, is to OWN your strengths!!!! In addition, what better time to be reminded of this, as we navigate this world so deeply impacted by Coronavirus (“COVID-19”).
All you individuals who already know you have the Empathy strength, or for those who resonated with what was written here, we need you to follow those hunches. Lean into your intuition. What you are telling that other person is: “I see you;” “I hear you;” “I feel you.” For someone who is struggling, that just might be the ingredient that helps turn things around. Currently, the world needs kindness and empathy, so please be you!
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