There really is nothing like pure empathy, not sympathy, not "oh that happened to me once", not a pat on the shoulder, but an authentic understanding of your feelings. Empathy can change your emotional state completely, and it frees you to give empathy in return instead of fiercely defending and describing your own situation again and again. Real empathy isn't common, at least not yet, so chances are that a few of us could use some. So here goes,
I hereby declare a large dose of empathy for any and all:
**That are sick in bed today. That sucks. What a bummer when your body doesn't cooperate with your mind and you're sick and tired of being horizontal.
**That are negotiating life with a newborn. What a challenge and a change! Sitting still for hours and hours of nursing, subordinating your own basic needs (peeing, eating, sleeping) to the needs of this newcomer, recreating your life with your partner in new and unfamiliar ways, and redefining the very essence of who you are after years of defining yourself in other ways (worker, lover, do-er). Oof!
**That are feeling like they are old enough now that they really should have figured some of the big stuff out. Like career, or money, or both, and then judging themselves for not having figured it out. That's hard. And heavy.
**That have to negotiate with a co-parent which house the kids are going to be at and when. The holidays sure provide opportunities for this sort of thing to get all twisted around. How tiring and frustrating to not know for sure how things will work out.
**That are caring for a sniffly child. It hurts the heart to see a little one suffer doesn't it? And it's so challenging to meet your own needs (moving your body, getting work done) while playing the nurse role.
Need empathy for something not on the list? I can give it to you. Or if you'd like to add anything to this list and forward it to someone you know that could use a little empathy, just leave a comment and I'll see to it.