Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. – Romans 12:15
My friends know that one of the rules I live by is “No one cries alone.” It’s actually not a rule, more like a reflex. If someone in my vicinity is crying, I am also crying. It’s contagious, kind of like yawning.
On the other hand, laughter is contagious too. My hubby Bill has an infectious laugh. He often laughs until tears stream down his cheeks. It is impossible not to laugh when this man is laughing.
Empathy is one of the most important human emotions. It allows us to feel connected to others. We all need to be understood; empathy satisfies that need. It’s what allows us to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes. It’s the ability to put yourself in someone else’s place, to feel the same emotions they are feeling.
Empathy is different than sympathy. When you feel sympathy, you are putting yourself on a higher emotional plane than the person you are sorry for; when you feel empathy, you are on the same level.
Sympathy allows us to look down on another person and feel sorry they are experiencing pain; empathy makes us go where that person is, to get our hands and knees dirty and actually experience what the other person is feeling.
Even though we may not have had the same life experiences as others – we may have never lost a spouse, had a child who suffered from a life-threating illness, or been fired from a job – the emotions associated with these situations are universal. We have all felt pain, fear, and loss.
As Christians, we believe that Christ coming to earth as a human man is the ultimate act of empathy. I believe we all should cultivate more empathy and less sympathy.
*It is my plan to document the arrival of spring here in this corner of Southeastern Pennsylvania through the progression of blooming flowers. This is the third picture in the series. The flowers pictured above are Crocus (Crocus vernus). I found these while walking my dog Benji. Situated near a south-facing wall, they are the first ones I have seen this spring.
I am linking with Cee’s FOTD Challenge, Welcome Heart for Let’s Have Coffee, Worth Beyond Rubies, Debbie at Dare 2 Hear, Reflections From Me for A Blogging Good Time, Random-osity for Little Things Thursdays, It’s a Small Town Life for Thankful Thursday, Crystal Storms for Heart Encouragement, Rachel Marie Lee, Lori Schumaker for Moments of Hope, Knit by God’s Hand for Thankful Thursdays, and Soaring with Him for Recharge Wednesday.
Please click on the following link to read more funny or inspirational one-liners. One-Liner Wednesday.