Pondering life and one of the pieces that is empathy

I decided to take a much-needed break with the family to get away from my day-to-day living.  Things seem to be piling on top of me where I needed a temporary change to shake things up.

It was hectic as took my other half’s mother along as well who hasn’t been away for a break in years and years, but we all enjoyed the reprieve.  My anxiety is still being a bit of a pest and my imagination is getting the better of me and unfortunately, at times it’s becoming physical symptoms, but it will pass.

Now that I am back my mind is taking a little time to settle because I met a mass range of different people, whose stories have so much raw emotional truth it was a little overwhelming.

I met a young girl who bet me at the conga line the first night, that had me belly laughing the night away.  Over the course of the next few days, our two sons played brilliantly.  My son has only just recently in the last couple of months started interacting with others more.

I learnt on the 3rd night that she has to sign with her son when he was apologising to my son, I assumed he was deaf then the story unraveled the final night.  It put truth to the saying don’t judge a book by the cover, you don’t know the story.

It also got me thinking how we don’t teach lessons to children on understanding emotions in this day and age in the school curriculum, despite there being growing expectations on society to understand it.

Her son is suspected to have Autism and I could understand why when she started filling in the gaps to the story.  He did not speak when he was younger, no noises or babbling and he had never played with someone, not the way he was wth my son.

She says her son is able to feel empathy and has shown on occasion that he can, I also learnt that the only way a pressure cuddle relieves this boy is by lying on his back when he is face down, then he will calm down.

She also expressed how confusing the journey was and how contradicting the advice sounds at times, her son has a speech and language therapist amongst many others. In my opinion, her children were well cared for, managed, and, behaved regardless of the fact she was a young mum with a disabled child, who had her first at 17 who is now 21.

The reason I have brought that up is because of a story she told me from her previous holiday the year before, where her son took an extreme meltdown banging his head off the floor.  A lady a fair few decades older just came up and said to her that’s what happens when children have children.

I was a decade older than this girl but she put my organisation to shame, she was prepared for all aspects of behavioural issues that may have arisen, regardless of her age, I learnt a thing or two from her.

This boy fit the stereotype or core consistent ways of behaving, acting and thinking commonly seen in those under 3 with autism.  They played and interacted brilliantly despite there being the language barrier, it was nice seeing my son come out of his shell.

I used to wonder if my children were Autistic, especially my son as he had more traits than my daughter but the more I learn the more I realise yes we have a lot of traits but that may not necessarily be the right label.

I noticed my social skills are adequate even if I have to play the wolf in sheep’s clothing at times, I can still manage these interactions and not that I have lost the skill that took years to develop.

I can do this by reading the body language, energy and listening to the words coming from the individual I’m conversating with, I can manipulate, steer or remove myself from conversations I don’t feel comfortable with and enjoy the ones I do.

My anxiety and imagination keep getting the better of me at points but manageable. It’s spiking and becoming more visually detailed, especially at night when I’m trying to shut down, interfering with my day.

I’m now getting physical symptoms that are becoming noticeable to those who know me but still able to cover these from those that don’t.

This means I am not controlling it as much as I would like and if I don’t get it under control, I run the risk of falling back into the depression and self-critical thinking that leads to poor self-care and procrastination, for this individual.

A downward spiral I’d rather avoid.

Fear is closely linked to anxiety and when you have dependants it isn’t so easy to avoid your worst fears from coming to life in your head once you allow them to creep in and set roots.

There is so much out with our control to be fearful of, that putting these thoughts to the back of the mind isn’t so easy for many, regardless.  It takes self-management to control them before they get the better of you, even then they still linger.

Your body temperature rises as your heart rate quickens where you feel the vibrations from the palpitations pulsating at the ears, a clammy cold sheen of sweat coating the skin, all from the power of your imagination and way of thinking.

This is when things become catastrophised and your mind jumps to worst case scenarios although they may be plausible they are unlikely to happen.

These days I have this way of thinking more under control but when the thoughts appear they can be harder to suppress with reason, becoming more graphically detailed and harder to shake them out.

It’s my body reacting to the chemicals being produced as my flight or fight reactors kick in but it’s happening unnecessarily causing me to react, think and behave differently.

Makes no sense to have a fear of your thoughts which you have control over, which led me to another. I’ve been trying to change my way of thinking to two steps forward, one step back meaning stepping into my present then my future, only dipping into my past, so I did just that.

I saw my present needed attention, planned for this to happen in the future which has now past and I’m reflecting back on.

I once described my life as being smashed into pieces but bit by bit, piece by piece I’m beginning to restore it, the originality still there but becoming something else.

I have been on so many a self-destructive cycles only occasionally jumping off the loop for some time now as the clock goes tick tock, that I have no other choice but to place change on the horizon, that is self-manageable.

I am rebuilding the walls that I thought was the problem that I began dismantling a few years ago piece by piece, I have now learnt that was not the case.

The walls had to come down or else I would carry on being oblivious to how those around me feel, but enough is enough as now I have no protection leaving me vulnerable.

I was reading a comment that I was not able to reply to the way I wanted as it was a pondering thought that I haven’t found the words to explain yet. It was about empathy which once upon a time I was unable to execute to the level I do now.

I wrote about empathy and sympathy in this article Sunday 19th August 2018; Looking at heaven living through hell that explains the words and my way of thinking in more detail

I call myself the natural empathiser….

I am natural because I am human but the word empathiser does not exist in the English dictionary.

I do not claim to naturally be able to be empathetic I don’t think anyone is born this way. I’m worse at being sympathetic because I come across as dramatically theatrical, not so good at expressing emotions in ways deemed the ‘norm’.

Empathiser didn’t exist and since no one seems to be able to recognise me I found it fitting. My definition of it is to understand and explain through comparison an opinion, ideology or sentiment, which is what I naturally do. Therefore I am neither empathy or sympathy but I learnt to be an empathiser and a sympathiser.

I do not believe anyone naturally feels empathy, to begin with, some learn it earlier on in life than others but I think it is something that is taught.

You have the ideology, sentiment or opinion explained, you are compared to other human beings as your parent/carer tries to get you to understand, to be empathetic and considerate to others.

As time progresses experience, life and the lessons we are taught teach us through trial and error to feel empathy to some level for others, a part of personal growth that varies depending on the individual.

I am beginning to believe we can be selective in what we choose to give thought to for a vast and varied amount of reasons.  For too long now I have pondered and been frustrated by the word empathy.

A common opinion I have been reading is we are not born with it but have the capabilities and potential to learn to understand others throughout the course of life

What’s your thoughts or opinion on empathy?

Do you think it is a part of development or something you are born with?

Do you think empathy is something you are taught or feel it naturally?

Whatever your point of view I’d like to read it 🙂

Source of writing http://www.naturalempathiser.com – feature photo by  www.naturalempathiser.comSharon McCutcheon

Further reading

  1. Looking into the word individual
  2. Catastrophising; worst case scenario at an extreme
  3. Taking care of yourself whilst taking care of others
  4. Sunday 19th August 2018; Looking at heaven living through hell

Published by

naturalempathiser

I enjoy writing and believe everyone has a story. I have hit a brick wall when searching for my own answers so, I have been looking at alternatives and becoming a blogger seems a good choice. No, we can't get answers to all our questions alone but, together the possibilities are endless

4 thoughts on “Pondering life and one of the pieces that is empathy”

  1. You are right, empathy is learned response, while sympathy is in built in our nature. But both emotions need to be developed and encouraged. We should start with our kids, so that they grow into adults with humane values.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I thought so and agree but there are so many perspectives. It is a very interesting topic that seems to fascinatingly frustrate me at times 🙂

      I’ve seen many words that say were born with sympathy but i was wondering if you knew how we know we’re born with sympathy and it isn’t just a trait we develop and nurture?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I think that if we look at very young children, we can understand which of our personality traits are inborn and which are acquired! Young kids are loving, kind( mostly) truthful and open. It’s only when the grow older that they learn the conditioned responses from the adults around them.

        Like

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