What ‘pathy’ am I on?
- A-pathy ~ I could not care less. I feel nothing toward you.
- Sym-pathy ~ I understand you are experiencing pain or joy. I express my understanding and acknowledge your feelings, but remain emotionally distant.
- Em-pathy ~ I allow myself to feel and express emotion when you do.
Empathy is a choice. If I am to shed tears when others cry or truly enjoy their happiness, then I must become empathetic. I must develop a well-functioning emotional radar and learn to read the signals. Without a finely tuned personal sensitivity meter, I may miss a chance meeting when I am most needed and waste my energy on low priority, safe, sterile, and comfortable endeavors. What a waste! I may never share another’s sorrow when he learns his wife has terminal cancer. I may miss the opportunity to celebrate when a friend is promoted to the position he always wanted.