When you stop to contemplate what is in “your bubble” – what occurs to you? On a tough day, for me, it’s often thoughts of my kids and grandkids. I wonder how they are doing, I struggle with missing them, and I sometimes misplace that “missing” into blaming my husband for the yucky feelings. Sometimes that’s the stuff in my bubble. That being said, from Monday to Friday I am offered a fantastic way out of that bubble: my work! I count myself as extremely lucky in that my job absolutely requires me to get out of “my bubble” and join you in yours! So for 6 – 8 hours a day I don’t miss anyone, I am not angry, or lonely, or sad or anxious. So empathy – because in a nutshell that’s my job, to empathically attune to my clients – is my conduit out of my own bubble.
I promise you, that if you find a way to attune to someone – the simplest example would be volunteering for the elderly let’s say (but there’s as many ways to do this as there are people I’m sure) – if you showed up and were truly there for someone – you would not experience your own suffering for the time you are showing up for them. So empathy is a conduit out of your anxiety. Empathy can be a conduit out of a depression. It can. Think about that for a moment. Empathy, connectedness, joining with someone, these are all ways to alleviate the chronic loneliness, as well as the anxiety so many struggle with.
Remember the book Lost Connections, that’s what Johan Hari was leading up to, that when you join with someone – one way of describing being empathic – you raise yourself out of your struggle and become something bigger than what your struggle is. Connection is healing not just for those you connect to, but for yourself as well.
Empathy: your conduit out of your struggle.