In a world filled with ongoing conflict, a widening gap between the super wealthy and the rest of us, and the domination of global corporations, what we all really need is … less empathy.
the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.
The reason that empathy is not a constructive emotion, is in one single word in its very definition. Share. A person that spends time empathising with another person shares / takes on the other person’s suffering as their own. They experience it, feel it, suffer, together.
As with the laws of the universe, you need to emit a positive personal frequency in order to receive more positive energy and positive people in return. People that are unable to put themselves first, unable to make themselves the centre of their own world, will always find it hard to attract more positivity back into their lives.
If you’re not the centre of, and the number one person in your world, you’re unable to assist other people. Well, that’s not entirely true, you can assist others, but if you’re not able to renew your positive energy, you become more and more depleted each time you “assist” others.
Take for example the idea of an empathetic ER nurse. Each time a critical trauma patient comes into the ER, with a bone sticking through a piece of skin, he consoles the patient while also taking on their suffering as his own. He feels the suffering and wallows in it as a method to make the patient feel better. It’s not hard to see, that after a while this kind of emotional behaviour is going to completely deplete this professional and they will find themselves in a place of complete burnout and inability to work in this kind of environment. The same applies to doctors, trauma counsellors, coaches and therapists.
There is no place for empathy in parenting either. While the shared suffering with you children may be short term comfort for them, this again will begin to deplete your energy and your effectiveness as a parent. The path of a parent is to provide a framework and sometimes deliver “bad news” to their offspring, as a way of getting them to understand the how the world works, and raise them in a structured environment. When Johnny comes home from school after his first heartbreak, sitting with him and crying, wallowing and reminiscing indefinitely, is not going to enable the parent to teach him the lesson that needs to be learnt around rejection and taking positive learnings from each encounter that life sends his way.
When looking at ways to resolve an unwanted negative state, the application of empathy further impedes progress where it acts as a spotlight. A person’s focus is often only on the problem at hand, blinding the sufferer to other alternatives that exist outside of this negative state. The taking on of another person’s suffering immerses you in their pain and doesn’t allow for an objective view of possible solutions, where those solutions often exist outside of the realm of the suffering.
The elimination of empathy from your emotional arsenal, as a method to improve your overall well-being, does not mean that you aren’t a supportive caregiver, parent or spouse. Rather it means that instead of taking on the pain and suffering of those close to you, that you exercise understanding and support rather than empathy. When a friend comes to you with a problem in their life, that they’re working through, the most efficient method to support and provide impartial advice, is to recognise their suffering but not to take it on as your own. To be in a position to look at their situation objectively and not to become emotionally involved, as this is where supporting them starts to affect your “bank” of positive energy.
People often consider it their moral responsibility to help others above themselves, and the idea of putting yourself first goes against how some of us have been brought up. The notion that you put yourself before others can conjure up feelings of selfishness or self-centeredness. A feeling that you’ve failed the people around you by not being available to them first. If you’re still in any doubt about whether putting yourself first is the best way to structure your life, spend some time looking after the emotional well-being of others before yourself, and then exercise the self-awareness to gauge your own emotional fitness over time. You can’t be a good wife, husband, business partner, parent or friend if you’ve not got your own shit sorted out – first.
Putting yourself first requires that you list and align the areas of your life that are important to you. Knowing which are your highest values and which values you feel need work, and then consciously moving them up your personal value list. Our unconscious mind serves the first 5-8 values on our value list first, with the least amount of effort, energy and motivation. Items further down this list, might be areas that we want to improve in our life but require continual focus, force and self-motivation to achieve.
Where do “YOU” fit on your personal value list?
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Till next time ✌️.