It’s been a pretty rough day for me. Last week I was wavering on this week’s episodic musing, whether or not it’d be too negative or if I should keep things light – but I think it’s best to go ahead as planned and write what I really wanna write about.
Empathy. It’s something that’s made up of many factors – but it’s also something that’s commonly misunderstood in the sense of its own meaning.
I wanna write about that…raw, unedited. Just pure, straight forward thoughts.
Musings Episode 60: Cognitive Empathy
Empathy is one of those things that people usually peg up against sympathy, trying to figure out where the dividing line or clear cut differences are.
It’s one of those things people don’t really exercise, unless they’re consciously aware – both of themselves and their fellow man.
It’s one of those things that has a lot to do with cooperation.
There’s two major types of empathy – emotional and cognitive. While the latter is pretty cut and dry – being able to emotionally understand where a person is coming from – the latter not many people know how to exercise.
Emotion is easy – it’s something that can change like the ocean’s tide. It’s where the fight or flight mechanism kicks in, and where people can cry when they hear something that pulls at their heart strings.
But cognitive behaviour – when applied to empathy – is a whole different ball game. Cognitive empathy, is when a person actively takes the steps to imagine themselves in the confiding person’s EXACT situation. Not just imagine casually either – but to the point where they actually FEEL that person’s feelings, and understand that person’s thought process.
It’s a task within itself – but only if one isn’t used to doing it.
I’m a relatively serious person. Easy to get along with. Straight shooter. Don’t take bullshit.
A lot of people say I don’t always smile enough – but that’s okay…because at least when I DO smile at someone, they know it’s genuine.
Now although I may look serious – I’ve got a pretty big heart – that I keep behind a pretty big door. You’ve gotta knock to be let in.
But one thing I have learned, is understanding people.
Understanding situations – looking at both sides of the story.
One thing I HAVE learned is that empathy, is both directly and intricately linked with compassion.
Compassion and empathy are two different things – but compassion can’t really be exercised without empathy, first.
The main difference between empathy and compassion is, in empathy while someone puts themselves into the frame of mind emotionally and imaginatively, COMPASSION is what makes them actively seek helping the other person to find a solution, even if it means being a part of that solution.
Empathy is the beginning of relating to another human being.
Empathy is the beginning of taking the time out to sit down and listen to your fellow man.
Empathy is the beginning of UNDERSTANDING, your fellow man.
Compassion is what humanity must learn – and the focal point, the true starting point to understanding how to exercise compassion? Will be explained in tomorrow’s Make it Mondays post…
Hope everyone’s had a great weekend.
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