Saturday, July 31, 2010

The Assumptions & Realities Of Empathy

I had a friend recently, who thought she knew more about my life than I did. She thought she saw all of my problems and issues wrapped neatly into a psychological evaluation. And as a friend, she decided I needed to know this and proceeded to drop a 'harsh reality' bomb on me. And she made sure to let me know, as she did this, that she did it because she loved me.

Now this friend is not a psychologist. Nor did I solicit her for this purpose. She took it upon herself to 'evaluate me' and upon the assumption that I didn't have a clue about my own life, proceeded to let me know in the harshest terms possible that my life boils down to a mental health issue.

One problem with this is that it was based on the assumption that I do not have a grasp on the realities of my own life. It was assumed that instead of facing my issues, I run away from them, hiding away online. It wasn't even conceived that I might have a full grasp on my life, my issues or my reality. And that can be a huge mistake, when one underestimates another person, in the midst of assuming things about that person.

Another problem with this is that there was no empathy in it's evaluation or delivery. There was no real attempt at understanding my life, my knowledge or my understanding beneath the obeliscal walls of her psychological evaluation, in which my life had been summarily categorized and placed. Empathy for someone entails attempting to understand these things about another person, even when they are making an assessment of another person.

So I am left to wonder, where is the love that this was all supposed to be wrapped in? My sense tells me that this rose out of someone's assumptions and frustrations with their personal life, rather than any attempt to offer support, guidance, empathy or healing.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

The Synchroncities Of Life

I woke up one morning and felt a strange sense of purpose that day. I couldn't put my finger on it...because that feeling was fleeting and elusive. So I got up, like I would any other day and went about my morning routine.

I got ready for the day and got my kids ready for their day at school. I prepared breakfast. And then, when the time came, I took them to school as I had always done. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary up till that point.

After I dropped the kids off at school, as I sat in the car at a stop light, I had this sudden feeling. I knew the light was going to change exactly when it did. I can't tell you how I knew, but it did change.

Now that is something one could blow off as random with a momentary 'huh...interesting' and then moving on. But it didn't stop there that day. Small things like that continued to happen throughout the day.

I sat in the car later thinking about an issue I had been contemplating for some time and a part of me wished that there would be some response...from deity...from the universe...from the higher self that was me....from where ever. And as I looked up, I saw a hawk circling overhead, as though it waited for my notice. I heard it call at that moment and it sent shivers down my spine. And then I watched as it slowly disappeared into the distance.

Again, this could be taken as something random. I could have sat there and thought nothing of this hawk except 'Wow....pretty!' and moved on with my day, still feeling as though there was no answer to my beckoning. But I didn't....I felt warm and comforted. And even though I had no resolution to the issue, I felt as though I could tackle it with new vigor simply because I felt supported in some small way. And in that moment, it didn't feel random at all. It felt as though it was meant for me and me alone.

I went inside and sat at my computer. I opened my email and there was another random message....which on the surface seemed like spam. But upon opening it my eyes were assaulted with pictures of blessings and love. And again I felt as though it were something sent to me when I needed it most. Random spam didn't seem so random after all.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Empaths: Cruelty & Forgiveness

When I was growing up, I had alot of issues in my life.  Some were severe, while others were simply perceived as severe through my adolescent mind.  A single word had the power to slice me to the core, particularly if it came from those I depended on: family, friends and/or lovers.

Socially I tended to gravitate toward people who were also 'different'.  In this case, it was people who were labeled as 'rejects'.  This included the role-players, the goths, the pagans, the emos, the drug addicts, the alcoholics, the sexually promiscuous people.  The reason why I was drawn to people like this is because we shared a common bond, despite our differences.  That is, all of us had been abused in some way or another.  All of us suffered from severe low self esteem.  And we huddled together, dysfunctionally supporting one another, because our realities were so painful that we couldn't bear to face them head on alone.

But even this group had a tendency to be fickle at times.  I remember one incident wherein my boyfriend came to my door late at night and told me he was running away to kill himself.  I had just joined that particular group and didn't know him all that well, so I panicked and told my parents.  They made me call the police to report it.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Empathy: A Level Of Perception

Perception is a very merry splendid's also very individual. People can view the exact same thing, and end up seeing and interpreting those things differently from one another. Of course, sometimes that's a little hard to swallow because we tend to work under the premise that everyone thinks as we do. What is obvious to us is obvious to others, as well. But sadly, that's generally not the case.

Now, what might this have to do with empathy? Hmm...I wonder. Empathy is about interpretation. It is the observation of subtle nuances and interpretation of emotions, non-verbal communication like body language and microexpressions, voice pitch/hue, linguistics (words chosen when speaking or writing and how they are used). It is the human body's use of all of its senses to interpret another person's moods, situation, issues, and to understand that....through one's own perception filter and point of view.

Friday, July 2, 2010

The Fragility Of The Human Spirit

There is a fragility to the human psyche. There is always a limit...a breaking point...which we all have where we surrender and collapse under the weight of the things burdening us. It can be instantaneous or it can take many years to press down so hard we finally let the tears flow. It's that singular moment when we stop being stoic...fighting the good fight...and stop bottling up everything inside us...and just let go.

To cry...until you are spent of tears and emotions. To scream the emotions at the world without restraint. To let wave after wave of sorrow, anger, resentment, and pain flow out of you. To allow yourself to be set awash in those things you have kept at bay for so long.