“You ask a lot of yourself and expect little from others, this way you’ll save yourself a lot of irritation” – Random Paper Wisdom
Remember when you taught me about empathy? My mind eventually declared empathy to be something much more difficult than most people think.
I keep telling myself I am not good at it. That I should practice flicking that empathy-switch on when I need to, that it’s hard because I have to think about it.
And that I shouldn’t ask for it, because the concept is so complicated nobody really understands it.
Like empathy is rational rather than based on compassion.
Of course you proved me wrong on both points, Life.
This week, a client of mine received terrible news. It was news she knew was coming, but when it finally arrived it hit her as hard as ever. Like it had been lurking right behind the corner all this time, waiting to jump her and hit her in the face with a brick, all while she thought it‘d come sneaking up from behind.
News I couldn’t change for her. News I couldn’t take away. The only thing I could do was listen.
So I did. I let her tell me exactly how she got the news, what it encompassed, what it means, how things will go from now. I let her tell me about her fears, her insecurities. I let her rage about it, be defiant, and eventually crack a small joke.
I felt inadequate and both her news and her reaction weighed heavily on my shoulders. So I turned to my friends and blurted out my story.
And they listened and asked questions. They let me rage, be defiant, and helped me lift that weight off my shoulders.
Without thinking about it or having to flick a switch on, me and my friends gave empathy when it was needed, Life. And it wasn’t difficult, it simply happened.
Just like that.