Today I experienced true empathy for the first time! Crazy, right?
It makes me sound like a hard-ass bitch or a narcissist, doesn't it? That would not be the right assessment though. I am 31 years old and I've lived up until now thinking that empathy is putting oneself in the other person's shoes. I have to say--I think I've been wrong...
I have cried listening to people's stories, cried watching heart-breaking movies and TV-shows, but I've always been putting myself in everyone else's place and feeling for them through myself. Today, for the first time, I was able to see the person I was listening to, envision their life, their view of the world, their thoughts and experiences (as much as I can and know) and just be moved by their experience. Not my own. Trust me, it's a different thing. (Or perhaps you already know...)
I walked into the street right after, remembering all the stories that my friends and family have told me and just wanting to cry for all of them. For them! Not myself, in their shoes. How different all those stories looked and sounded to me, all of a sudden.
I can't believe that I haven't understood this before!
I like that I'm becoming a real softy....and yet at the same time, that I'm tougher than I've ever been. (I'm learning to throw punches and rip people's eyes out, in class!) I like that it all gets balanced as you keep going with the flow....
That you become...whole?