“Empathy dissolves alienation.”
– Carl Rogers, psychologist and author
We all long to be seen for who we really are, to be heard, to be…loved. As children, few of us received the empathic connections that we deeply needed. Our intrinsic, authentic selves were often unseen or not appreciated. Our primary caregivers didn’t have the capacity to see us beyond their own expectations, fears, and conditioning. We were empathy-deprived, which can lead to a sense of unworthiness and emptiness. As adults we may find ourselves with a deep ache inside, hungry for love and attention.
It is never too late to heal these early wounds. Being in the presence of people who are empathic and practicing empathy with others will help to heal your heart and increase your capacity to have fulfilling relationships.
Seek out people who truly care about you, have your best interests at heart, and can see and accept the authentic you. Look for people who you feel relaxed and safe with. You’ll be seen by these people and they won’t judge you. They will listen, ask questions, and care about your responses. They want to know who you are, what you feel, what matters to you. Spending time with people who are empathic will help you thrive. Your being can blossom when you are valued and respected.
In addition, practice empathy whenever you can. Extend the same empathy and caring attention to others that you’d like to receive. For example, when you listen to others, be all there. Listen with your whole self. Listen to their whole self. Then let them know that you understand how they feel. Be patient. Give them space and time to fully express themselves. Don’t rush in with comments about yourself, interrupt, or pronounce judgments. Be generous about expressing your care or concern as long as it’s genuine. You will be giving a great gift to others and to yourself. To be empathic is to have a big heart. Empathy makes us bigger people.