Understanding.

Sunday Inspiration.     Post by David Joel Miller.

Understanding.

Understanding.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Understanding.

“If you can’t explain it to a six-year-old, you don’t understand it yourself.”

― Albert Einstein

“Understanding is the first step to acceptance, and only with acceptance can there be recovery.”

― J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

“Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.”

― C.G. Jung

Wanted to share some inspirational quotes with you.  Today seemed like a good time to do this. If any of these quotes strike a chord with you, please share them.

Look at these related posts for more on this topic and other feelings.

Emotions and Feelings.

Inspiration

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Empathy.

Sunday Inspiration.     Post by David Joel Miller.

Empathy.

Empathy.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Empathy.

“Self-absorption in all its forms kills empathy, let alone compassion. When we focus on ourselves, our world contracts as our problems and preoccupations loom large. But when we focus on others, our world expands. Our own problems drift to the periphery of the mind and so seem smaller, and we increase our capacity for connection – or compassionate action.”

― Daniel Goleman, Social Intelligence: The New Science of Human Relationships

“Whenever you are about to find fault with someone, ask yourself the following question: What fault of mine most nearly resembles the one I am about to criticize?”

― Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

“When people talk, listen completely. Most people never listen.”

― Ernest Hemingway

Wanted to share some inspirational quotes with you.  Today seemed like a good time to do this. If any of these quotes strike a chord with you, please share them.

Look at these related posts for more on this topic and other feelings.

Emotions and Feelings.

Inspiration

What is empathy?

By David Joel Miller.

Why is empathy in short supply?

Empathy is a vital ingredient in modern life.

Empathy is described variously as, understanding another’s feelings, the ability to

What is? Series

PTSD
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

identify with and understand somebody else’s feelings or difficulties or the abilities to put yourself in the other’s position. It can have to do with both cognitive understanding and emotional experience.

Empathy is considered a fundamental skill for beginning counselors to have or to develop. I looked this word up in my 1898 Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia only to find – it’s not there!

The word empathy was introduced into the English language in the year 1908.  It came from a German word which had come into use extensively in the 1870s.  There was clearly a need for a word that more accurately expressed this concept.  Originally the word empathy was closely related to sympathy but went beyond the concept of feeling sorry for someone.  Empathy came to mean a ‘felt sense” or an understanding at a deeper level.

Today this word is often used to denote the ability to understand and experience what someone else is feeling.  To really feel empathy and you needed to not only understand what the person may be thinking but what they may be feeling.

In order to develop your understanding of the skill of empathy take a look at the list below of ways to tell if someone is truly empathetic.

Empathy is seeing life through someone else’s eyes.

Empathy is not simply saying I know what you mean or I understand what you are going through.  It is that true desire to actually be able to put yourself in the other person’s position and see what they’re seeing in the way they are seeing it.

Empathy is being genuinely curious about others.

People who are high in empathy are genuinely curious about other people’s lives and what it would be like to live life the way that person lives.

Empathy wants to understand not judge.

To have empathy you have to suspend judgment.  The people who are high in empathy make the effort to understand the other person, their life situations, and what they have gone through.  The goal of empathy is to experience what it would be like to be that other person.

Empathy values the other person’s experience.

Having empathy places a high value on other people and their experiences.  People from other backgrounds can have important contributions to make to our understanding of the world we live in.  An empathetic person does not look for ways to make the other person more like themselves.  They look for ways in which that other person’s thinking and behavior make sense, given their life experiences.

Empathy is a mirror that reflects what is inside us.

As you seek to practice empathy for others you are likely to discover that it says a lot about you.  Looking and listening to other people’s life experiences evokes emotions deep within ourselves.  Much of what we may be feeling about someone else reflects what we would be feeling in that situation.  Deep empathy moves beyond our own experience and attempts to experience things from the others point of view.

Empathy understands feelings as well as facts.

Empathy is about more than simply understand the facts and the situations of someone existence.  The highest form of empathy is to seek to understand how someone feels.  This goes beyond thief understand of facts of someone’s life, to how that person interprets those facts and the feelings those situations result in.

Have you developed your skills for experiencing empathy?

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Two David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Amazon Author Page – David Joel Miller

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.

Compassion.

Sunday Inspiration.          Post by David Joel Miller.

Compassion.

Compassion

Compassion.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a harder battle.”

― Plato

“Compassion is the basis of morality.”

― Arthur Schopenhauer

“Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them, humanity cannot survive.”

― Dalai Lama XIV, The Art of Happiness

Wanted to share some inspirational quotes with you.  Today seemed like a good time to do this. If any of these quotes strike a chord with you, please share them.

Emotional Chameleon or naturally empathetic?

By David Joel Miller.

Do you soak up others emotions like a sponge?

Emotional Chameleon

If you find that the way you feel changes when you are around certain people you may be an emotional chameleon.

Emotional chameleons have difficulty identifying what they feel and as a result, they are at risk to assume the feelings of those they are around. They were feeling fine when they entered the classroom but within a few minutes, they have adopted the sad feelings as well as the behaviors of someone who came to class depressed.

We are all affected by the feelings of others around us but the emotional chameleon is unaware that they are changing emotional state throughout the day as they move around others and adopt the feelings of those around them.

Be careful who you hang with, you might catch their emotions as well as their behaviors.

Some people are naturally empathetic. That is not the same thing as an emotional chameleon. The empathetic person can see and sense what others around them are feeling. The can understand what that person is feeling and behave appropriately.

Some people just are not good at empathy. Someone comes up to you and there are in tears, you might ask what is wrong. They tell you that a family member just died.

Someone with low empathy might make a joke about the funeral home should be running a two for the price of one sale with all the deaths going around. A more empathetic person might respond with some conversation about how this person was handling the loss and how can we all be supportive. The emotional chameleon will start crying and tell this person all about the deaths in their family going back to the turn of the century.

Counselors are trained to be empathetic, that skill of being with the other person and picking up on how they must be feeling. Humans have mirror neurons that help us understand what the other person must be feeling. This helps us to behave appropriately and promotes social connection if you pay attention to the other.

The empathetic person can understand what the other person is feeling without being swept away by the feelings.

Not so for the emotional chameleon. They quickly take on the feelings of the others. It is as if they have no feelings of their own and they need to absorb others emotions to know how and what to feel.

If you find that you are particularly sensitive to others feelings there are several things that you can do to keep yourself grounded and avoid emotional contagion.

Learn to identify what you feel and distinguish this from what others around you are feeling. This process of work with feelings begins by noticing that you are feeling something, find the place in your body that you feel this thing. Next, identify that feeling. This means studying feelings and developing a vocabulary to identify them when you have them. Lastly, learn to vary your responses and behavior depending on what feeling you are having.

Having strengthened you own feelings system you will be at less risk of catching someone else’s emotion. The more you know about your feelings the better you will be at being empathetic and understanding what others are feeling without having to catch your feelings from others in order to feel.

This also allows you to be with someone who is having a negative feeling without having to take that feeling as your own and take it home with you.

Are you high in natural empathy or are you an emotional chameleon who is at risk to catch another feeling from someone else every time you change locations?

David Joel Miller, LMFT, LPCC

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Two David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Amazon Author Page – David Joel Miller

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.