Tuesday, February 12, 2013

E is for Empathy

The ABC Wednesday Meme is a great way to see some great blogs. This week the letter is E.  E is for Empathy.

Today is the 13th day in a row that I have run a fever.  It seems like I can't even remember when I wasn't sick.  A week ago I went to the doctor.  He did a flu test and decided that I didn't have the flu, but that I had one of several other viruses that are making their way around town.  He told me there wasn't much he could do for me and I would just have to wait it out.  He said that it normally ran it course in about two weeks.  I certainly hope so, because I am very tired of feeling sick.

One thing that this experience has given me is empathy.  In my work with the Relay For Life and the American Cancer Society I meet lots of people who are going through cancer treatment.  Although I am not equating in any way my experience the past couple of weeks with going through cancer treatment, I do think that it has given me more empathy.  As a self-employed person I have not had the luxury of being able to take off of work.  I have just had to push through.  I know of so many people who go through cancer treatment and just have to push through with life.

According to Psychology Today's website,  empathy is the experience of understanding another person's condition from their perspective. You place yourself in their shoes and feel what they are feeling.  The power of true empathy is its ability to give us a fresh understanding of the other person's emotions and thoughts to illuminate an aspect of their experience that would not have been apparent to us had we not stepped into their shoes.

Empathy gives us the ability to recognize another's emotional state, feel in tune with that emotional state, and if it is a negative/distressful emotion, feel and show appropriate concern.  I know that whenever I meet someone going through difficult times, I never know what to say to them.  I do know that It is never appropriate to say."I know what you are going through".  One person can never know what someone else is going through.

Elizabeth Thomas states that, "Empathy is the only human superpower-it can shrink distance, cut through social and power hierarchies and transcend differences".  Just think we can all be super heroes if we would just use our super power of empathy for others.


  1. Know what you mean. Colds etc. hit me much harder as I've grown older. Have used Cold-Eeze the last few times a felt a cold coming on, and it seemed to shorten duration.

  2. I hope you feel better soon Rich. I will pray for you today. Sending lots of warm wishes.

  3. A very thought provoking post today.
    I do try to have empathy
    Hope you feel better quickly. Its no fun to be operating on just 3 cylinders.

  4. it's difficult to get sick when you have a regular job, and even more challenging when you're self-employed. i know that now.:p i hope you'd kick the virus soon.

    E is for...

  5. GREAT "E" post...so much for flu shots...although you may have felt even worse without it. Hope you feel better soon.

  6. I FEEL for you! I could use a nap because my daughter tumbled in the tub, while my wife had a stomach bug.
    ROG, ABC Wednesday team

  7. I love the sentiment of the last paragraph. Hope you feel better soon. My mother (coming from a farming family) always said you "work off" a illness so I guess you are doing that very thing. I wasn't convinced!
    Joy - ABC Team

  8. Love your illustration...that says it all. Sorry you have been sick for a couple weeks. That no fun....Hoping you will be feeling good real soon.

  9. Empathy is something we should strive to be able to express to others. Hoping you can be well SOON

  10. Awww that is a cute set of little legs!

    Catching up with ABC Wednesday entries on Valentine's day!

    I hope you'd come and check out my Eskimo

    Rose, ABC Wednesday Team