Tuesday, August 8, 2017

     Being an "empath" isn't always a good thing. The down side is that I feel your pain as though it were my own. I also feel your anger, your frustration, your sadness. As I read this poster, I wonder if some people who sense or know who we "empaths" are might be uncomfortable around us. It could be read as scrutiny or even invasive. Some people don't want to be that open. If that is the case, then I know why I might be "too much" for some.

     I remember years ago taking a course on empathy. I didn't really know what it was at the time, but I recall doing exercises with others where we had to listen and relate back what we heard from our partner and describe how it made us feel and how we interpreted their body language and facial expression. Maybe that's where I learned to see and feel more.

      Silence is one of the most difficult for people, including me. I am much better at it than I used to be, but when we meet new people, they have a very hard time with pausing. It's like we all feel like we have to fill every second with words. Sometimes we forget to chew or breathe when we eat or talk. If you come home with a knotted stomach when you're not upset, it might mean you didn't breathe while you were talking or you may have taken in too much air. Funny, huh?

      I tend to interpret the silences in some conversations (though they are rare) as negative. If I say something, and someone doesn't respond, I tend to think I'm being judged or that the person disapproves. Why would I think that? Who knows? Silence doesn't mean either of those things; it means silence. For me, the test of a comfortable relationship is one which includes comfortable silence. Think of how many people outside your family with whom you are comfortable sitting together in silence.

      My upcoming speech about listening with the whole body will address this topic. It must be my fascination with human behavior that keeps coming up in my writing and speaking. Are you too busy to think about why people say or do what they do? Or are you like me thinking, "What on earth were they thinking?" or "Why would he say something like that?" or "Did you see the look on his face?"