Tag Archives: Empathy

Your shield of love

It is so amazing to me that as we delve into a greater understanding and knowledge of another’s past slowly a shield of love is built around our hearts.  This is no ordinary shield, but seems to work in a very special way.

Any unkindness, anger, or hatred aimed at this shield by the other is transformed into love through understanding their past before being repelled back towards them, while any love or kindness given by the other is doubled as it freely passes and is returned back to them.

Sweet Lord please fill us with understanding, empathy, compassion and love for our neighbors so that we might be covered with Your Shield of Love!

 

Regrets…

Some believe that Jesus told Judas Iscariot to betray him.

In the Gospel of Judas, Jesus said, “But you will exceed all of them.  For you will sacrifice the man that clothes me.”

If this is the case, then Judas acted out of obedience and faith in Jesus and he was given the strength to follow through with Jesus’ request.  Imagine for a moment being Judas once things had been set in motion and he was outside the loving gaze and light of Jesus.  Imagine the torture and suffering he put himself through questioning his actions, wondering if he had acted within the will of God or made a mistake.  Imagine the tortured thoughts he experienced as he second guessed his actions under the criticism and hatred of those who had once called him brother, his fellow disciples.

It is so hard to keep our hearts and our heads clear and open to God’s message, and then once we are bogged down with fear of a mistake or acting selfishly rather than within His will, we pull yet further away from Him and our faith is so quickly drained from us.

I think it is in these moments of fear that we have to breath deep, and know our faith is being tested.  The moment our faith begins draining from us, is moment that we must hold tight to it and thank God for our current suffering, questioning and lack of confidence in our actions or words.  We must continue to reflect even more on His perfect plan and remember that sometimes acting within His will might not be comfortable.  If we have stepped off the path, there is a lesson within each step and we must remember that He loves us so much that He will not let us stray far before He begins nudging us back on track.

I said something a few days ago that I so deeply regret, that I can now actually appreciate why some people take a vow of silence.  I am not sure if I was on track or off track with what I said, but even through my regret I am trying very hard to be thankful for experiencing these feelings of regret, for the increase in my desire to be pleasing to God (through silence if necessary) and for yet another opportunity to empathize with Judas.

Thank You, Thank You, Thank You for everything.

Grace in disguise?

It was a dark and stormy evening.  A young man who had recently received his license was on his way home from picking someone up.  As he approached a red light, he pumped the brakes, they locked and the car continued right through the light.

There was a collision, people were hurt, a young child in another car was killed.

The young man driving was my grandfather.

I know he thought of this child often.  I know he carried the pain of having caused the death of this child for the rest of his life. As I think back to discussions and time I spent with my grandfather, I can remember the painful expression I would see cross his face if we ever heard about or discussed any type of car accident.  I remember seeing him wince as if he was physically in pain when we discussed a news article about all of the fatal car accidents caused by faulty tires back in 2000.

I think this moment drove him to spend the rest of his life seeking to empathize with those who had recently lost a loved one in death through his work as a funeral director. He sought to feel their pain, he hoped to feel what the family of that young child felt, and he searched for forgiveness by easing the pain of others as they faced the death of a loved one.

I now wonder if God graced my grandfather with an end to his search just before he died?

My young cousin, his granddaughter, was killed in a car accident on a dark and stormy evening about a year before my grandfather died. After his years of searching and empathizing with others, he finally felt what it was like for the family of that young child who had died so many years ago. He finally felt what it was like to look into the face of the mother of that child as he looked into the face of his own daughter as she wept for her child.

My sweet young cousin was the only one who was ready to go home.  Maybe her death was a gift of grace to our grandfather?

God thank you for loving both of them so much!

Be Thou Our Vision

Have you seen or heard this quote?

The way people treat you is a statement about who they are as a human being.  It’s not a statement about you.

I saw this about a week ago and it didn’t sit right with me.

Have you ever been mean to someone or snapped at someone?  I know I have done this.  I have done it to strangers on the street as well as the ones I love the most.  I know this isn’t right, and I am not condoning my actions but I am questioning whether these actions should stamp me as a mean or angry human being?

These moments of anger thrown at another are usually tied back to something else that is bothering me, something that is making me unhappy, uncomfortable.  These moments usually mean I have had a rough moment, day, week or month.  When I do this it means I have a lot of other things to work on personally, but I don’t think these moments should label me or anyone else as a certain type human being.

On the flip side, have you ever woken up so joyful and full of thanksgiving and gratitude that you smiled and showed extra kindness to everyone you met that day?  I have had days like this too, and these are great days, but do these actions label me as a wonderful and kind human being?  How could they when I have also had days full of anger and impatience with everyone?

I think these actions, regardless of which side, should label me as a human being having a certain type of moment, not as a certain type of human being.

I think changing a few words in this quote would promote a lot more empathy and compassion.

The way people treat you is a statement about what they are going through.  It’s not a statement about you.

Jesus please help us to remember that it is rarely about us and please help us to see others through Your eyes… Be Thou Our Vision!

Expand, expand, expand…

Circles are everywhere.  Our lives are filled with both figurative and physical circles.  We see them in nature, we see them in actions and re-actions and we experience them physically around tables, in meetings, and during circle time as children.

We include people when we are willing to expand our circles, but we can just as easily exclude others by refusing to expand our circle for new arrivals.

My sister wrote a blog that I loved last year, Is it a pie or a triangle?.  The conversation we had regarding this blog stands out clearly in my mind as a moment in my life when I finally started to scratch the surface in my personal understanding of Jesus and what He did for me.

Ever since this conversation, I have thought of God as a large circle that we are all held within.  I then picture all of us as small circles within the God’s large circle.  Some of our circles are bigger and some of our circles are smaller and some of them overlap.  The bigger ones represent those who have accepted or included more people, and the smaller ones have accepted or included fewer people.

I don’t think heaven or paradise is possible without everyone and unfortunately we are the ones imposing limitations and building walls within God’s beautiful, all-inclusive circle by excluding others.

Pray for everyone, try to empathize with everyone…
Empathy will lead to forgiveness, and forgiveness will lead to love.

OUR best life doesn’t work unless everyone is included!

I pray and dream for OUR best life for everyone, everyday!  I hope you do too… together we can expand our circles!

The Little Way

I watched a movie about Saint Thérèse of Lisieux last night, Thérèse.  I loved it and loved learning about “The Little Way”.

Below is a definition I found online for “The Little Way” of Saint Thérèse.

It is an image that tries to capture her understanding of being a disciple of Jesus Christ, of seeking holiness of life in the ordinary and the everyday.

I have been thinking about this a lot today and I think when you empathize with someone it can naturally guide you towards “The Little Way”.  In the movie Saint Thérèse was very considerate and aware of her family and then later of her fellow sisters.  She attempted to help others in ordinary and everyday moments without ever expecting anything (a thank you or even acknowledgement) in return.

I think when you empathize with someone, really attempt to see things from their perspective, it can help you to move beyond the expectation for a thank you or acknowledgement of what you then do for that person since you now can more fully appreciate the difficulties that brought about their current needs in this moment.  I think once you are released from this expectation you can then truly find joy in meeting their needs (serving them) in that moment without the weight of what you will receive (your expectations) on your mind.

I know I still have a lot to learn about “The Little Way” of Saint Thérèse, but these are are my initial thoughts.  I hope to learn more when I get a chance to read the autobiography of Saint Thérèse of Lisieux: The Story of a Soul.

Wouldn’t it be AWESOME if we could all truly let go of “me” and focus on “you”?  I think what we would find would be Our Best Life because even if I really let go of me, Jesus won’t let go of me… He wants us All!

A few more thoughts on empathy…

I was watching a documentary about different types of love and relationships a few months ago, and they brought up empathy as a key building block in relationships.  I agree with this, but what really got me thinking was the wording used when defining empathy.  In the documentary empathy was defined as the ability to put your self aside in order to identify with or experience the feelings, thoughts or attitudes of another.

When I heard it defined with the additional wording of PUT YOUR SELF ASIDE, I immediately thought of when Jesus said to deny your self.

Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.”

Did Jesus mean for us to empathize with others when he said to deny ourselves?  I am starting to think this is what he meant.

In the Sermon on the Mount in the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus says, ” You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I tell you, do not resist an evil person.  If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.”

How can one truly turn the other cheek?  Is the answer to this also empathy?

If you resist your anger towards the person who has struck you (Are you denying yourself?), and instead attempt to empathize with that person, understand that the obstacles and difficulties of their life, their story have brought them to this moment and that although their physical anger was finally triggered by the current moment shared with you, their emotional anger has probably been building for quite some time and has very little to do with you.

Once you can empathize with this person, does it become a little easier to deny your self/deny your anger and turn the other cheek?

Jesus said, “Whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”  It is “Our Best Life”, let’s say it, believe it, live it and wish for it everyday for EVERYONE!

 

Global Consciousness

My husband and I watched the documentary I Am last weekend.  It was very good and I would highly recommend it.  In the documentary they briefly mentioned The Global Consciousness Project (GCP).

Below is a quick explanation of the project from their site

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The GCP is a network of random number generators (RNGs) spread around the world. There are currently about 65 or 70 nodes in the network, and at each one, random data trials are recorded continuously, one trial per second, day after day over the past 13 years. The result is a database of synchronized parallel sequences of random numbers. The data are archived on a server in Princeton, and subjected to formal analysis testing whether there are departures from expected randomness corresponding to global events.

By definition the RGNs are independent and should not show any relationship at all, but during moments of importance to humans, the devices show slight correlations with each other.
———————

The moments mentioned in the documentary were Sept 11, 2001 (WTC attack) and  Dec 26, 2004 (Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami).   Both of these tragedies brought about a mass synchronization of human consciousness as people around the world felt empathy and compassion for those effected by the tragedies which then translated to a physical synchronization of the RGNs spread around the world by the GCP.

As I have been reading more about the GCP, the site discusses the fact that they have found that events evoking empathy, compassion or love for others bring about a much larger effect.

This just confirms for me once again the great importance of empathy.  The act of putting ourselves aside or denying ourselves in order to try to understand another person’s perspective, experience or situation and then finding compassion within to offer help to another.

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.”

Let us deny ourselves through empathy as we live Our Best Lives!

 

Empathy

I have been thinking a lot about empathy.  Empathy is the intellectual identification with or vicarious experiencing of the feelings, thoughts or attitudes of another.

I think empathy is one of our greatest gifts because it gives us the ability to share not only the lows, but also the highs with each other.  If I am truly empathizing with others to the fullest, then every sorrow on earth becomes mine to share, but so does every joy!

Therefore if we consider a world with little or no sorrow, then the joy we could experience is INFINITE!

I am going to intentionally practice empathy at home, with my friends, with strangers, with anyone who I come in contact with… let’s see what happens!

Say it, live it, believe it and IT WILL BE!  It is Our Best Life!

 

The connection is confirmed!

I have been very lightly reading about dark matter for the last three years since watching a movie about it.  I didn’t know what it was or have any simple theories, but I found it interesting to read about and would always check-out an article when I came across one.

Last weekend I had a dream that led me to watch a few episodes on www.netflix.com regarding the universe.  In the last five min of the 3rd episode they briefly mentioned dark matter which led me to do a quick google search since I hadn’t read anything about it in at least four months.  The article I found was posted the day before…

It is truly AWESOME!!!

Please read the article, but a quick summary is that since dark matter does not react with light it has been completely invisible to us until a group of Japanese Physicists came up with a way to produce an image by tracking how light was bending as it approached earth from 24 million galaxies.  This image produced gives a visual of where dark matter is in space for the FIRST TIME!!!

Guess what they found…

Dark Matter forms a web CONNECTING everything in our universe!!!  Before reading this, there was no question in my mind that we are all connected, but this CONFIRMS IT FOR ME!

Connect with, include, befriend and love anyone and everyone so that the web of dark matter will continue to grow and eventually we will all be encircled in an invisible web (but a truly physical material as proven by science) or net (as my sister would say) of LOVE!

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/46387769/ns/technology_and_science-space/