Hi everyone. I came across this question in a different form, in one of the threads. I thought that with all the new people here, it might be a good topic of discussion. How far can you trust Empathy in your daily life and should you rely on Empathy alone to read people and navigate through life's obstical course? Let's explore this thing we call Empathy.
First of all let's get the obvious out of the way. Sometimes this idea of Empathy can seem like an intangible, wholistic metaphysical conjuring to explain something we don't understand. To give overly sensative people a straw to grasp at and cling to in a tumultious world.
I am a person who seeks truth. I must, as far as I am able, prove or disprove a theory based on evidence. I am not one to blindly follow an ideal or concept without being able to test it first.
When even circumstantial evidence mounts up, time and again and no other explination seems satisfactory then I tend to give some validity to the idea. Such has been the way of Empathy for me. There have been so many clues, countless times. So many incidents that have only validated my theory that I could no longer ignore the possability and then I found this site.
But, can science validate Empathy? Yes it can and it has. Though still in it's infancy, science has picked up on the existance of Mirror Neurons. All life on this planet, at least animal life, has been found to contain Mirror Neurons.
"You see a stranger stub her toe and you immediately flinch in sympathy, or you notice a friend wrinkle up his face in disgust while tasting some food and suddenly your own stomach recoils at the thought of eating. This ability to instinctively and immediately understand what other people are experiencing has long baffled neuroscientists, but recent research now suggests a fascinating explanation: brain cells called mirror neurons."
Now this is just the tip of the iceburg and science is only now catching on. But that's not all. When you consider something like synesthesia ( a rare ability to see, taste and feel words and letters), Empathy as we know it is not so far fetched.
Lets also consider that science has long since proven that we radiate a bio-electric feild. An aura of energy that surrounds us. In fact everything on this planet resonates with some kind of electromagnetic force.
So with all this in mind. Is it really that far fetched to think we are capable of Empathy as we understand it? I think not.
Can you Trust Empathy and rely on it alone?
Empathy as we know it is a complex ability that is influenced by both outward stimuli and our own state of mind. While focusing our Empathy in one direction often helps us discern the answers we seek, it just as often can be hijacked by sudden and highly charged emotions coming from within or from those we are close to and even by a passing stranger. I believe Empathy can be trusted but to do so one must have strong focus and lots of practice with control over one's own emotions. We must be able to ignore all other internal and external stimuli except as it pretains to our focus. However, it takes practice to decipher what is and is not related.
Empathy is not just about emotion but energy. When we are tired, when our bodies energy is low, we filter less and are more sensative to the energies around us but we are less able to focus and control those energies and how we react to them. A healthy mind and body are essential for a strong empath.
In addition there are tools available that can aid us in supplimenting our Empathy. Helping us to physcially validate our intuitive feelings.
Among these tools is body language. I have posted a blog on body language before but it is a cursory glance at being able to project a more socially dynamic self. Here I suggest taking this a step further and realizing how body language plays a role in non verbal communication amongs humans as well as other animals. Knowledge is power and the more we learn and understand of ourselves and the world around us the more we are able to continually validate our Emoathic intuitions and the better control we will have in dealing with the chaos.
Here are a number of links to videos that will get you better aquainted with body language and how it can work for you.
Amy Cuddy: Your body language Shapes Who You Are
Secrets of Body Language - Documentary
The Complete Guide to alpha male behavior
NOTE: While this video talks about alpha male body language as it relates to seduction and social dynamics there is more than meets the eye. Good information for both men and women
So understanding body language is a very helpful tool and there are many such videos on the subject on youtube but there are other tools as well. One more obviouse and mundane tool? Logical thinking.
One should always attempt (at least in the beginning) to disect the emotions that seem to overwhelm us. To analyze the information and think rationaly about the probablilty of those feelings. You begin by asking yourself "Is there a reason for me to feel this way"? If the answer is no then observe your suroundings and attempt to identify a potential source by identifying body languages. If you cannot pinpoint a source then you think of people in your life and hold on to the first image or thought that crosses your mind. Examine it and when an appropriate time is available you may make contact with that person as though you were just being friendly and thinking of that person.
One shouldn't just jump out and say, hey, I sensed you were having some issues. Let the conversations flow. Show concern, ask if everything is alright and that they sound a little down. Be aware of verbal ques and body language.
In the begginning second geussing Empathy is normal and your feelings should always be validated before you act upon them. In time you will learn to differentiate between your own anxieties, fears, lusts and such and those of others. It takes practice but it is important that you realize it's not just all in your head. The only way to do this is validation and experimentation.
I welcome any other advice others may have and I hope that this information is useful to someone. Thank you.