We often feel like our perspective is unique. Some feel that others can’t understand them for multiple reasons, selfish, unintelligent, or just plain mean. But as we get to know each other on an intimate and honest level, those feelings can wash away. The emotions we feel are universal, and it’s about finding the empathy to create a bridge to understanding.
Feelings of Neglect Flow Both Ways
Many of us feel misunderstood, and sometimes we very well are. Sometimes people are so stuck in their perspective; they have blinders on your feelings and experiences. Even more discouraging are those who see those differences but refuse to see how they affect you, change your perception, and in turn your life. When people don’t consider the vast array of emotions, thoughts, and experiences that make up you, they only see a fraction of the picture. This can cause a person to feel very alone, frustrated, and potentially angry.
“The highest form of knowledge is empathy.” — Bill Bullard
But, when you open channels to communicate how you feel and vice versa, it allows for a change in perspective. This can be scary for some to think that their fixed perception of a person or opinion could be shifted or changed completely. There’s comfort in feeling like we have it all figured out. Those who are open to change can’t forget that it’s scary as hell not to have the answers for some. We often get trapped in the mentality of feeling dismissed or misunderstood that we just want someone to feel what we feel, rarely focusing our attention outward. Empathy flows both ways. Care about how and why the person is meeting you in their current state of mind and emotion.
Pathway to Connection
“Empathy is really important. Only when our clever brain and our human heart work together in harmony can we achieve our full potential.” — Jane Goodall
It seems to be so natural for people to want to separate the head and the heart, but this is short-sided. Life encompasses both of these parts. Some individuals consider themselves more rational, while others are more compassionate. In truth, empathy doesn’t come without vulnerability and courage. We all have and use rational thought and compassion; it’s just a matter of understanding how one filters the world. Only then can empathy exist.
“I define connection as the energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard, and valued; when they can give and receive without judgment; and when they derive sustenance and strength from the relationship. “ — Brené Brown
We can’t force others to see our perspective and we can’t make them love who we are. But that doesn’t change the part we can play in opening the door to understanding each other. The empathy you show can help build the bridge to connection.