We live in a nice global village where everyone can look up anyone, we can voice opinions loud and clear through the social media (sometimes unnecessarily), and news keeps us updated of the tinniest development on about everything! In short, it is a beautiful place to be..unless you decide to be authentic, honest and pull off the socially correct mask!
With the pandemic, the global village has witnessed its very first massive slow down, forcing us to look within and seek what we really want. But through this process, I personally have learned a very important lesson- EMPATHY is a superpower !
You see, to connect with people, we need to be connectable.
Like for your phone to have a few features, it needs to be compatible. Similarly, for you to connect on a soul level, be understood and heard, it’s essential to do some internal work and realize that we’re all the same, with the same basic needs to be acknowledged, loved, heard and understood.
Empathy in its truest form means — to be able to feel, understand and experience another’s feelings from the point of view of the person concerned.
Therefore, empathy calls for us to tone down our rational minds and tune in with our heart. It also means seeing, feeling and being them for sometime.
It isn’t easy. It’s not pity, sympathy or victimising them by saying “its terrible that this happened to you” but rather saying “I understand that life seems tough right now”. Empathy is a subtle form of relaying the person’s feelings to them, making them feel less alone and giving them the space to feel their feelings without being judged or fixed.
Empathy is a vital life skill that needs to be learned by everyone. It’s that simple skill that will upgrade us personally and collectively.
Here are a few ways I learned to naturally bring out our empathetic side :
Hug yourself : I recently learned that you could hug yourself too. The warmth of our own embrace is so comforting that in an instant, it can make you feel loved, wanted and to a certain level feel even complete. If you feel awkward trying it then imagine someone who loves you hugging you. Over time it will become effortless. Doing this often and every time we feel low can help us reconnect with ourselves.
Validate your feelings: No feelings are good or bad, they are simply messengers trying to tell you that something is off balance. Therefore, the next time you have an intense feeling, tell yourself — it’s okay to feel what I’m feeling. Then pause and let them pass. Always remember — emotions are simply energy in motion!
Name your feelings and put into words / phrases what’s really happening in your mind and body: This is a two part step. First — Use metaphors and get creative about what you are feeling . For example I feel volcanic eruption kind of rage when I give someone repeated changes only to be let down or I feel like a hollow tree, living but with no life inside. Secondly, tune into your bodily sensations and witness what is happening. You might feel heavy in your chest, or your back might hurt, or you’d feel slumped down. This brings the focus back within.
Ask yourself well formed questions: We need to get curious about what’s happening within. Ask yourself gentle but open ended questions like “I can see that you’re hurting because she said such nasty things but could there be anything else bothering me too?” The trick is — name feeling , state the cause and ask for more information.
Be comfortable with silence / pauses: Your mind and body need time to just be or even reply to your curiosity. Its okay to get no response. The idea is to just be there for yourself.
Hold space for yourself: Allow yourself to feel and express whatever is going on inside. If that means crying, screaming into a pillow, or just ranting so be it. Just let yourself be without restrains. Try and sit alone in a quiet or private space to feel more comfortable.
The beauty of empathy is that the more you practice it on yourself, the more easily and naturally it manifests towards others. And in the process we learn to connect with ourselves & others more deeply.
Imagine a global village where majority of us are more in tune with our mind, body and emotions. A place where we can freely express ourselves knowing that we are acknowledged , heard, understood and supported. Would you want to live in a world like that? I know, I would!