All wounds are formed in relationship, and all wounds are healed in relationship. Empathic disconnection creates the wounds that arise out of dysfunctional relationship and it is empathic connection that heals those wounds.
Empathy demonstrates our capacity to relate to the emotional stories and resonate with the feelings expressed by another. We are empathically connected when we are not pulled into these stories and are not losing ourselves in our own. We are empathically disconnected however, when projecting our own experiences onto the other or offering answers and solutions from a this state. It is our ability to remain fully present and connected to what the other is sharing at a feeling level, without any of this becoming about ourselves, either overtly, or silently within. If we are physically present to another yet lost in our own memories, thoughts and emotions then we are no longer empathically connected. Empathy is our capacity to be fully connected, heart to heart, yet remain emotionally neutral. It is all about unconditional presence and holding a loving space for the other to share without imposing our own agendas or needs.
Compassion is refined through empathy, and empathy is refined by compassion. Empathy precedes compassion, for whenever we make an empathic connection with a human being, an animal, a bird, an insect, a flower, a tree, or a plant, compassion flows. An empathic individual demonstrates a marked capacity for resonating with the thoughts, emotions and feelings of others. One is able to deeply sense and feel into what another shares. The more sensitive we are, the more empathic we are: The more integrated we are, the more empathic we are: The more loving we are, the more empathic we are. When empathising, we do not prioritise our our own agendas. Empathy is not fixing or trying to make better - it is simply listening, with a loving, wise and open heart.
The Difference between Empathy and Sympathy
Whereas empathy reveals our ability to experience the above, sympathy calls for some degree of emotional involvement. We care about suffering because perhaps we are able to remember something similar from our own past which triggers an emotional reaction or response within us, often resulting in expressed tears or anger at what is being shared.
Sympathy will try to say the ‘right' thing, do the ‘right' thing, fix the situation, or even try to distract the other. It may accidentally or purposely encourage the emotional state of the other. It has no agenda, it simply wants to partake of the experience. Empathy, however, will remain neutral as it holds out a loving and supporting hand.
With empathy we are fully present. With sympathy we can find ourselves emotionally over-identifying with the other’s story and are therefore unable to remain neutral to it or present to them.
Sympathy identifies. Empathy relates. Sympathy offers hugs and comfort. Empathy gives space and validates.
Empathy is a deeper emotional quality. It is an unspoken yet acutely felt understanding of another’s experience. It responds with compassion through the eyes, an ultra-soft body language, and the supreme gentleness of its presence, as it energetically holds the other in a space of unconditional love.
Sympathy offers support and a sincere capacity to identify with the pain and suffering of another and will often vocalise this. However, it can also invoke the “rescuer” within the listener to respond (or react) to the sharer as if he/she were a bird with a broken wing. This, indirectly introduces a disempowering influence to the sharer's experience. Sympathy expressed as a response to, for example, a bereavement, is appropriate. The sharer is in pain and it helps to relate to one who has suffered the same type of loss. To feel less alone is ‘good medicine’ in this context, as long as the ‘sympathiser' does not enter into long monologues about their own personal experiences.
Qualities of Empathy
Empathy, as a foundation stone for new paradigm consciousness fulfills the basic human need to feel seen, heard, validated, valued and acknowledged. It has far-reaching consequences and can tremendously accelerate both personal and global healing. All individuals need to be empathically connected with. Most of us carry deep inner wounds formed through empathic disconnection, and these are healed through empathic connection.
Empathic Connection Decree
I choose to empathically connect with myself to heal my psychological wounding, which has occurred as a result of experiencing empathic disconnection from others.
I have reached an understanding that it is empathic disconnection that is to be found at the root of trauma. Therefore, today I choose to empathically connect with myself to heal the wound of disconnection within me.
By empathically connecting with all sentient beings I contribute to the co-creation of a peaceful world.
I Am an empathic, compassionate, understanding and unconditionally loving human being.
My intention is to empathically connect with all sentient beings: mineral, plant, insect, bird, marine life, animal and human.
Today, I will empathically connect with at least one sentient, living energy, especially one that is considered to be deserving of the least empathy and love.
I commit to empathically reconnect with myself for doing so is the key to my own depth healing, and contributes to the healing of the world.