What good does it do a person to be more empathetic? In what ways might this improve one’s health and well-being?

Dear reader I welcome you all.

  1. Everything in this universe is fully connected to everything else.

Every person on planet Earth is connected to every other bit of life on the planet!

So, when you show empathy to others, in a very real way you are also showing it to yourself.

Humans became a powerful, even great species by learning how to cooperate in ever larger groups, finally Groups of Groups!

Those who choose to compete end up being destroyed by the universe itself (competition is anti-life and the universe destroys things anti-life, but supports pro-life activities and persons); but it sometimes ‘takes too long’ from our perspectives!

Even from a selfish perspective, having empathy for another is a good choice!

  • A major component of high levels of emotional wellness is having positive and meaningful personal relationships. … In short, having a healthy sense of empathy results in better relationships, which results in better overall emotional health.”

You can’t really have a healthy relationship without empathy… you need to FEEL the other person… if you are cut off… there is no relationship… that is why narcissist and the like don’t have real relationships…they are manipulation ships… disordered relationships… even if they “look good” on the surface, it is fake. They lack empathy… no real connection, and it turns into a toxic relationship usually.

Better overall emotional health means… less stress… thus… better physical health as stress can do horrible things to a person… take it from a guy with PTSD….

2.

Empathy, from the Greek ‘empatheia’ meaning ‘feeling into’, is when others know you have a sense of what they are feeling through actively listening to what they are telling you.

Sympathy is when we understand, on an intellectual level, the suffering of others without feeling what they feel. It is one step removed.

Compassion is when we use our empathy to take action. We don’t just sense their feelings we act upon them in a helpful way. It is one step on from empathy.

Typically to be empathetic we need a good understanding of ourselves and our own emotions. This understanding of our own emotions and that of others can improve our health and wellbeing in several ways. Here are a few examples:

  • Being more understanding of others can help us build stronger relationships and support. The strength of our support networks is often believed to be one of the most important factors in our wellbeing.
  • Taking empathy one step forward to compassion has been shown to be good for us too. The act of helping others is good for our own wellbeing. Compassion is deeply rooted in human nature and has a biological basis in the brain and body. An *article produced by Kanov, Pawley, and Walsh reflects research showing that suffering is a ‘pervasive, though often invisible aspect of organizational life’ and that compassion is a ‘healing force that is indispensable in organizations’. It goes on to reflect the ‘psychological, physiological, relational and job performance benefits (for sufferers, compassion providers, and third parties who witness or learn about the compassion) and can thus mitigate the hundreds of billions of dollars in annual organizational losses associated with suffering.’
  • In a group environment, where getting along with others is key to success, empathy may also help us earn more money and therefore provide us with access to better experiences that help our health and wellbeing.
  • An ‘empathy’, or affinity with nature has also been shown to be beneficial for our health. For example, in Japan, **research has shown that people who spend more time in nature through the practice of ‘Forest bathing’, or Shinrin-yoku, benefit from better nervous system function, heart condition and reduced bowel disorders than those who don’t. Other research in this field suggests improvements to stress recovery effects in the autonomic nervous system and increased immune function.

3

When empathy is talked about it’s often in the context of kindness. Kindness is very beneficial. When insight and understanding someone else’s person and emotions is used in a way that is kind – it’s healthy for the whole person.

It releases dopamine and prevents depression. It fosters strong relationships in the home, community and workplace. This has been proven to be good for everyone! Everyone’s health improves – look at Okinawa? Yes there are other factors at play but to my mind it is a perfect example.

I have seen people who understand others and what makes them tick and have used this skill to be hurtful, selfish and deceitful. Empathy is great when motivated by kindness. I personally feel the ability to empathize is neutral and the person using the ability is what gives it a moral value.

Empathy can help people succeed in business. It’s useful for politicians and doctors and psychologists and athletes. It’s a great quality in a veterinarian.

Empathy helps people maintain relationships and avoid emotional turmoil. It can also help a person realize the motivations of their “friend” do not line up with who their pretending to be. Empathy is like infrared goggles- a different way of viewing information.

Empathy can help someone be a great lover. They seem to sense what their partner likes and dislikes and can anticipate and extrapolate upon what they observe. This is a great talent for genuine lovers and malicious seduces alike.

Some of the worst people in history were able to identify the thoughts and feelings and generally the tone of other people or even societies as a whole? They had an emotional intelligence that they chose to devote to evil actions and manipulations.

Then we have Saint Mary and if you look at her life’s work you cannot help but see her empathy.

Without empathy people feel alone but with empathy they can have a sense of unity with those they ally with. Their friends and family and to a degree their communities. Empathy helps people feel connected.

People with empathy can often be very forgiving. They understand why their friend hurt their feelings and get a sense of how genuine their apology is. I think of empathy as a slice if the emotional intelligence pie. It’s not everything and it’s also not worthless at all – it’s very important.

Empathy is amoral. Whether it is beneficial to anyone is then in my opinion based upon the moral decisions made by the person gifted with empathy.

Many times I have seen a bully know just what to say and how to say it for maximum social and emotional carnage. We don’t consider this empathy and maybe in its organic context it’s not exactly but in my mind it is the other side if the empathy coin.

Kindness is healing and beneficial and love is grand – when a heart that means well is gifted with keen insight into the social, mental. Physical and emotional state of those around them this is a good thing for everyone.

This helps communities come together in a crisis. Go fund me depends upon generosity or empathy. I prefer empathetic medical professionals to cold emotionless robots. Empathy can help people solve problems and get to the root of an issue. Empathy allows for graciousness and forgiveness. We could use more of that in this world.

Generally empathy is good and maybe there is another word for empathy evil twin but the marriage of empathy and kindness is very good for inflammation, stress, bouncing back from defeats, mental wellbeing, emotional stability…

Here’s an example.

A cashier at the local health food store was having a rough go if it as it was her first day. I was toward the end of her long line and when it was my turn she apologized and I said, “Hey, I was a cashier once. I’m not in a hurry and I would be happy for you to relax and just take your time.”

She laughed and declared I should hold a patience conference or something. She was only half joking. I could tell she was happy to be treated as a human being and not an appliance or convenience. That was at the moment less than convenient.

Because I didn’t get angry my blood pressure didn’t go up. My body didn’t shift into fight or flight. I enjoyed seeing this cashier from then on because we had report. Much better than oh, it’s her again.

Empathy has helped me to notice. To notice when someone is playing with fire. To know when I am being lied to. To forgive and heal and let go. To reconcile. And also to know it’s time to let go.

Empathy informs all my decisions but its only one of my tools and not the whole enchilada

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