The Dictionary definition of empathy is “the psychological identification with or vicarious experiencing of the feelings, thoughts, or attitudes of another.”
Empathy is everything. It is connection, it is caring, it is love. It allows us to step into someone else’s shoes for a second and know exactly how they feel. It enables us to understand someone’s pain, or joy, like never before. It has the ability make someone feel special, known, and loved
At its core, I believe the ability to empathize is a strong trait of maturity, and a disciplined aversion to selfishness.
When we can truly care about someone else's feelings, it shows that we can see beyond our small world and peek into the world of a stranger, or a friend. It proves that I can put myself, my feelings, my needs, my little world aside for a moment, and then replace those with what your friend is feeling or going through, and know just how they feel.
And when we know how someone is feeling, we can be there for them. Through the heartbreak and the happy times, we can laugh, we can cry, and we can be there for them.
And that is one of the best feelings in the world; to have someone who feels exactly what you feel, and is there for you when you need it most.
Being able to empathize is not easy. We must have the ability to put aside our selfish desires and focus on someone else. We need to have the maturity to say, "Right now, this person in front of me is more important than anything that is going on in my world."
It takes someone with a strong sense of identity and self to be able to say this.
Empathy is maturity.
And genuine empathy can NOT be faked. People will read you so fast, and trust will be broken in an instant. Because truly empathetic people are hard to come by, it is that much harder to find someone who is truly authentic and caring.
I know I haven’t always been mature enough to have genuine empathy for others, and I struggle with it daily. How are you doing in genuinely caring for others? Let me know in the comments below. Together we can overcome this.