Gabriela Niggemann – Where to find Empathy?

The empathy intervention was very challenging for me. First of all, I had a rough start with finding situations in which I could reflect what the other person might feel. I assumed that it must be a negative experience in which I am upset or annoyed by someone. Interestingly, such a situation was hard to find. When I still could not come up with something after six days of intervention, I started to reflect: why is that so? Is it just hard to get on my nerves? I tried to find the routes of my issue and got to the assupmtion that it is not about that I could not find a ‘suiting situation’, but that my assumption of that it must be a negative situation is wrong. Empathy takes part in nearly all of our human interactions. Negative interactions are just the most menorable and significant ones as well as might not appear everyday.  For the rest of my intervention I looked at all of my interactions, and tried to analyse how I approach with empathy and what I could have possibly done better.
One situation that stood out for me was a conversation I had with my roommate last evening. She was telling me about an issue she has. I immediatly started to give possible solutions to the issue and tried to help her. She appreciated my suggestions and we went to sleep after that. This morning I reflected on last evening. The issue my roommate has, just appeared recently. Following, it is very ‘fresh’ and still emotional. The outside rational thinking is perhaps still hard. Maybe she needed more of a ‘good listener’ than solving suggestions. Especially, when thinking of the emotional indicators she used, it would have been bette in her eyes to have someone just listening to process what happened eventhough solutions are needed in my opinion. She did not show any sign of that she did not like to get suggestions that evening, but still looking and feeling from her point of view and reflecting on empathy I could have listened more.

Ultimately, this intervention was very hard and challenging as far as getting started is concerned. After concidering alI interactions as empathetic it got way easier. Trying to see a situation from someone elses point of view was not as hard as I thought it would be. But I found it very depressing that one cannot adjust the past situations after reflecting on the other persons point of view. One can only try to do it diffrent and better next time. Also, it might not always be ‘correct’ what one should have possibly done from another persons point of view, but it is important to see what the other person expected from you in order to understand the approach of a situation. The empathy intervention helped me to understand situations and interactions I experienced more active.

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