You ever thought about Empathy, how important a word it is. Or even what it’s true meaning is? It’s something that people do not use; unless they have experienced something similar to another. Unless we have been through something similar to someone else, we don’t have the gift of empathy. We can only sympathise with someone. Although it’s a great thing to be able to sympathise with someone’s situation, we can all do it. We all know how to sympathise. Yet to be able to Empathise is but a special gift.
To empathise we have to have worn the t shirt, to have walked the steps someone else has and have experienced a similar journey. That’s why our Cancer stories group on Facebook is so special. We all have walked in each other’s shoes and know how hard it is to walk those steps. A story comes to my mind that’s very off piste or shall we say a different topic all together. Yet those that understand will empathise with me.
Oh how I remember so well being in a service (church service) in okehampton Devon. When the welsh pastor David, with great passion and vigour. Put his shoes in the middle of the isle. He had been getting criticised for his methods. But you know how, behind his back. People were slating him. So he asked everybody in the church if they would like to step into his shoes, that if they thought they could do a better job. That he would step down and let someone else. No one empathised and no one stepped in his shoes. He carried on for many years later.
An example of how empathy can help someone in their life is, something we have endured personally. We can put our arm around the person knowing that we can encourage them that they can. That although difficult we know how hard it is. But we have come out of the other side. It’s like that with this blog. That I empathise with many people on many different levels because of the terrible bone marrow transplant I have had. I understand the risks and the euphoria at being able to beat the beast they call cancer. That although I was given weeks to live that I still have life. Sad then that people don’t use the opportunity to use the special gift of Empathy.
People say, “It happened for a reason” what a load of rubbish that I got cancer for a reason. But wait, don’t I always find a positive somewhere? Well the positive is Empathy because unless you have suffered something yourself then how can you empathise with another. It’s a special gift and maybe just maybe you can give someone hope because of your experiences. Yes Cancer or any disease is terrible. My wife lost both her parents to cancer at 59 and 63. Yet she is able to empathise with people that lose their parents to early. Life’s a gift and so are our experiences if we choose to shift our perspective.
Pistyll Rhaeadr near Llangynog north wales.
You think it’s a small trickle till you see the bigger picture.
See it’s not what’s happened or happening to us that has to change. It’s how we look at it in our own minds that truly matters. Using the things that have made us miserable to give someone else hope. That they may learn that there is light at the end of their tunnel like there was in yours. You see even in death there is something to bless someone with. So I am writing this that you may see a different way of thinking, in the hope that others will be blessed because of you. Because of what you have endured someone will find blessing, hope and comfort. Just because you have empathised with another. Such a special gift, yet so many people leave the wrapping on and the beautiful bow and never open the box of Empathy because it hurts so much. Yet when it’s opened, so much can be given to someone else because of you.
Amazing don’t you think. So next time you have the opportunity. What will you do? Empathise, or sympathise?
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