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Is it possible to make yourself more empathetic? That is, are there ways of increasing your ability to feel what others are feeling?
there might be but I highly doubt it
unless you have been in a similar situation but even then is it true empathy or just sympathetic response?
i think people can become less able to feel empathy so there must be some ability to feel more but it probably varies from person to person
Look it up for yourself. Why do we have to do your work for you.
Depends what it is the other person is feeling... if they're feeling pain from a flesh wound it oughta be easy enough
hmmm. don't know... Tis difficult to contemplate I guess if one already has a certain ability to do so, as to how one might try and gain that, or higher ability to do likewise...
It's a skill just like any other and if you practise you'll improve. Practise active listening, paying close attention to what a persons body language is saying goes a long way. Train your memory so you can remember what peoples circumstances are, giving you an extra insight into their lives and why they might be acting in a certain way.
Some people are naturally better at observing and recognising the little tics and hints others have but you can definately train yourself.
Why would you bother?
Seriously, though. If you want it in nakedly practical terms...
It's a uniquely human skill which enables us to get on with and cooperate with others. It gets things done.
It's also why we do things, but that's harder to explain unless someone already has empathy.
Possibly the best way to cultivate it is to have something go very badly wrong for you. Occasionally this makes people wake up to what others have gone through in the past. This is not difficult to arrange. We're none of us far from disaster if only we had the empathy and imagination to realise.
'Walk a mile in someone else's shoes. Then the end of the day at least you'll be a a mile away from them. Plus - you'll have their shoes.'
I don't believe so. I am shocked sometimes how little I can empathise with other people. I'm just a bad person, but we do have autism in the family, which I will blame.
I 'fake' it. What I mean is, I have to make an effort to try to imagine what other people are going through, or try to say the 'right' things, and (this is going to sound REALLY HORRIBLE) I have to make an effort to 'care'. Bloody hell I'm awful.
It's becoming easier to do as time goes by, but I don't think I'm any closer to actually caring.
Yes, I'm a nice person. Be my friend. Right. *sigh*
Unless you are a social psychopath ( in one grade or another, there are plenty of them) or suffer from other kind of mental, social, political condition that makes you alien to othersīfeelings, we all are born with that trait of empathy. Itīs a human trait. I would even say that itīs a evolutive trait.
This video, 36 seconds, is from the Catalan Red Cross to recruit volunteers.
Sometimes Iīve used it with my pupils to talk about empathy. Because although we born with that trait, itīs also true that for some reasons it can get atrophied. We agreed on the fact that egocentrism is one of the beasts to fight.
In the adult world, reading, getting informed about other people lives is essential. Thereīs a lot of manipulation that help lazy or uncaring people ignore the suffering of others. Even, the person who suffers becomes the guilty of their own suffering, so we canīt do anything, not even worry about it.
Never mind, Mina, If you can fake sincerity you've got it made...
<<this is going to sound REALLY HORRIBLE) I have to make an effort to 'care'. Bloody hell I'm awful.<<
I donīt perceive it as horrible, on contrary, you are sad because you are missing that feeling, and that makes of you a caring person. You are building the muscle of empathy, whereas others, who arenīt autist, have no problem to say that they donīt care at all, even boast of stupid jokes against weak people.
I know exactly what you mean Mina (and there is autism in my fambly too). But then my emotions are a bit wonky anyway, sometimes I have to make a conscious effort to feel *anything*, sometimes I can't help but feel *everything*.
"I have to make an effort to try to imagine what other people are going through"
It takes all the mental effort I consider I have to spare to recall, most of the time, that other people are even conscious, and not just flesh-coated automata. I occasionally have a moment of clarity in which I'm hit by the realisation that other people I can see are real, and think, and have interior monologues and hopes and desires... but the feeling always passes pretty quickly.
Out of interest, how does drama work for you? Is it just people moving on a screen?
the ability to empathise isn't just based on the ability to feel though, it is to recognise and understand how the other person feels.
Mina you might not feel my pain, or feel that you care about it, but you would know it matters to me, being aware of that I think you would respond in a way that would take my feelings into account. That makes you a skilled empathtic. Maria's post is a good perspective of where that comes from I think.
If only people were as skilled when it come to communicating with people with Autism
>>It's a skill just like any other and if you practise you'll improve. Practise active listening, paying close attention to what a persons body language is saying goes a long way. Train your memory so you can remember what peoples circumstances are, giving you an extra insight into their lives and why they might be acting in a certain way.
Granted, this level of involvement might lead to empathy, but isn't it possible to understand people's feelings without actually empathising with them? In fact, couldn't you get jaded, and hence become even less empathetic?
And there can be nothing worse when you sense someone is getting it so so wrong..I'm wary of it and know I can get it wrong as well..and it can take a lot of learning to even start to get it right.
But when you sense someone is actually getting it..it can feel good.
I realise as I get older how different people can be. But the desire is a good one if the motivation is good.
I agree with HI about it being a skill.
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