- Thoughts for inspired living

January 23, 2020

Are You Empathetic?

Filed under: Uncategorized — John Morgan @ 4:40 am

Nick fewings ka7REB1AJl4 unsplashI’m not empathetic. There, I’ve said it aloud.

I think empathy is like speed in football: either you have it or you don’t. The great football coaches will tell you that you can’t teach speed.

I know what empathy is, but I don’t feel it. We could get into a long discussion about nature/nurture here but regardless of the cause, the feeling is still absent for me.

I have yet to meet an adult who has taken dancing lessons that doesn’t still look stilted on the dance floor. There are no empathy lessons that work for someone who is not an empath.

I noticed that I have begun every paragraph with “I,” so naturally this must be about me. It’s more about attempting to wear something that doesn’t fit.

Some people are really packed with empathy. I both envy and feel sorry for them. Envy, because it’s something that society tells me that I should have and looks askance at me because I don’t. Sorry, because it must be painful to feel everyone’s pain.

Perhaps it’s a protection mechinism but that would be me trying to explain it or justify me not having it.

I’ve noticed that some of the best surgeons I have met also lack empathy. It doesn’t keep them from doing their life saving work.

Because someone doesn’t feel you doesn’t mean they don’t care. They just care in a different way.

It’s a mystery to me that I can sense what’s going on with someone seconds after meeting them, but I cannot replicate their pain in my body. The good news is it hasn’t prevented me from helping people over the years.

I admire people who have empathy, the same way I admire talented musicians or gifted artists. They can do something that I can’t, and no amount of effort will get me to their level.

I used to think it was a flaw. I’ve come to find it’s a reality.

Perhaps the lesson here for all of us is this: Spend more time doing the things you’re good at rather than pining away for something that will never come your way.

All the best,


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