An Extent to Empathy – Brianna Sasao

This week I tried to find a good instance to write this intervention about but had a hard time finding one that I felt comfortable sharing. The people I needed to empathize with this week were close friends and family about personal things I can’t share to a class in detail. Empathy is a practice that is essential to maintaining a healthy relationship with someone. To me this means putting myself in someone else’s shoes for a moment, trying to understand how they think and how they feel, and ultimately seeing things from their perspective. But what happens when you can’t understand their logic and their feelings? I found numerous times this week that there is an extent to how much we can understand others because we are not them and have not lived through their experiences. And it is important to recognize this and know when it is appropriate to simply love and support someone even when you can’t figure out how their thoughts and feelings work. For one person in my life, I don’t understand her decisions but spending hours being perplexed and trying to empathize only leads me to understand that it’s okay that I don’t understand entirely. Empathy takes us to a place of love for others by showing us that we are all human and all have our own way of living life. And as much as we would love to be able to read the minds of people (or maybe we don’t want that exactly) we can not. A friend of mine has gone through something traumatic and it would be naive of me to think that I could fully understand how she is feeling through empathy alone because I have never experienced what she experienced. Empathy only gives us just enough of a glimpse into someone else’s perspective to guide us how to best treat them. So, at this point, what this leaves me with is the knowledge that there are things I can’t yet understand and that I need to be aware and conscious of that.

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