To Be There for You, I First Have to Stop Hiding from Myself
The Space To Be Real
“Empathy is a choice, and it’s a vulnerable choice because in order to connect with you, I have to connect with something in myself that knows that feeling.”
Ever since we are born, we encounter experiences that make us feel wonderful and loved and happy. We also encounter experiences that make us feel the opposite, and we decide to put all our effort in attaining as much of the happy ones as possible. We go to great lengths to ignore or disguise or redirect our hurt, but no matter how tightly we zip up that bag, it’s still the baggage we carry with us.
Every day I have the choice to give acknowledgment to my hurt and a choice to view it in a different light. I feel a very unique kind of strength, similar to courage but not quite the same, when I look back at a situation and separate the actions of the moment from the feelings of the moment, and then translate that moment as a whole into my desire for the person I want to be.
For example, I’m playing a video game and an event happens in the game. The game pauses and I replay it without any color or sound, just looking at the direct actions. Then I replay it as Player 1, seeing how this moment impacted the overall quest. Then replay it from the position of Player 2 and the impact on their quest. Then I look at it from Player 3, who was not in the event, but who will eventually have their own event with either Player. It’s this domino effect where I am the only person who can decide which residuals of the event are spread. In this exact moment, I can tie my experience and my feelings to compassion for the benefit of another. It’s no longer about what was done to me, it’s about what I do to another.
The world is wonderfully imperfect, and we all fall into holes. How different would our everyday interactions be if we could all accept our realness as a force to initiate positive changes wherever we go.
Photo and video courtesy of RSA and Brene Brown.