Empathy is incredibly powerful. It saves us from judging others. It brings us closer to people. It offers a way to learn about things that might otherwise feel outside of ourselves. It often requires us to surrender and be vulnerable.
It always feels amazing to empathize... to really connect with how someone else is feeling, and to identify with the euphoria, sorrow, confusion, or love that they are experiencing. When we open our heart and mind to empathize, it allows us to embark on new journeys. We get to explore different emotional circumstances and try on new ways of thinking and being. All the while, you are connecting with another person on a deeper, spiritual level than would be possible if you were selfish with your ideas, love, and understanding.
Lately, whenever I feel like I have a strong (negative) opinion about someone, decisions they've made, their opinions, feelings they have, etc., I really force myself out of my skin into theirs. I give my very best effort to put my own ideas aside and instead try to see where they are coming from. When I am really analyzing things and giving empathy a genuine, wholehearted chance, I find that my judgements and negativity melt away. Caring about others and their experiences, opinions, ideas, and feelings really cracks open our hearts and removes any base for making an "other" or "bad guy" out of anyone. And that is a beautiful thing.
This weekend I tried things that I had previously been (pretty baselessly) critical and disapproving of. I hate when I realize that an opinion of mine isn't rooted in any logic, but just all emotion-based and founded on preconceived notions. I used to puff up my feathers and try to edge away when people would point out that kind of thing. But now all I want to do is to better understand where my judgements are really stemming from and instead give my opinions legs to stand on with real knowledge and experience. Many times, I have such realizations about some of my baseless opinions when someone I really care about differs from me in their beliefs. Instead of shunning that part of my loved one, I want to be more committed to empathy - to really attempting to get on the same page just by visualizing their experience.
Have a wonderful week, everyone. Love others and yourself wholehearted by consciously practicing empathy. xo