Thursday, June 21, 2012

Empathy



Of all the treasures in the earth
and underneath the sea,
no prize is valued more than this,
nor held more gratefully:

that friend who gets behind your eyes
and sees what you can see.
© 2012 all rights reserved

EMPATHY (em-puh-thee) noun:
  1. Identification with and understanding of another's situation, feelings and motives. (American Heritage)
  2. The power of understanding and imaginatively entering into another's feelings. (Collins)
  3. A deep emotional understanding of another's feelings or problems. (Fairview Triple)
  4. The ability to understand and share another's feelings. (Oxford)
  5. The action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings of another. (Webster)
No matter how you define empathy, it's an easy quality to recognize when it's coming your way. Most of us have many people in our lives who show affection and sympathy, but the friends who are able to demonstrate true empathy are few and far between. It seems empathy is more of a gift than a given, and not everyone is emotionally wired to offer it, however good his or her intentions.

Yesterday I had lunch with a woman whose empathy abounds, and I am lucky enough to call her a dear friend. A wiser and more intelligent person you will never meet, but what I love most about her is that she always seems to "get it" when I am sharing a thought, feeling, or experience. In fact, she "gets it" so much that frequently she is able to provide me with additional insight into the very thoughts, feelings, and experiences I am sharing. Needless to say, spending time with her is a rare pleasure; and once my "other half" retires, we hope to spend more time with both her and her husband (a gem of a man who happens to be one of Dave's favorite golfing buddies).

Life is good, and so is an empathetic friend!

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33 comments:

Tima said...

First of all, OMG, what a fabulous picture! Secondly, isn't fabulous to have such great mates?

Grandma Honey said...

That's what makes for the very best friendships.

This reminds me of something I wrote in my journal when I was just 14. I was writing about the husband I hoped to marry someday...I listed the qualities I wanted in a man but then I said, "Most important is that he have true sympathy." Of course what I meant is I wanted him to have empathy...but I don't think I quite knew that word back then.

Grandma Yellow Hair said...

Honey I am happy to read that you have such a dear friend in your life. She sounds like one we all would love as a friend.
Special bonus that your hubbies get along well too. Rare to find both but so awesome when you do.
I love what you wrote about Empathy. Of all the treasures in the earth...just beautiful.
Love ya
Maggie

Brian Miller said...

that kind of friend is surely rare...and a treasure...or should be kept as one...smiles

karen said...

Friends like that are, indeed, a rare treasure. Even more so if the guys are friends as well. Lucky you!

Darlene said...

You have so many neat friends, Sue. I am glad that you have such a one who is truly empathetic.

I am trying to figure out whether I have such a friend. I have three very close friends, but I'm not sure they even they can feel real empathy. Maybe one of them because we share so many of the same problems. I don't know what I would do without good friends, so I can really appreciate how you value your "special" one.

Annmarie Pipa said...

I love hearing these kind of stories...I strive for empathy...it is truly a rare virtue.

Judie said...

I learned while on vacation that my little three-year-old granddaughter is very empathetic. She senses people's moods and tries to comfort them! What a gift!

Eva Gallant said...

That's the truth!

Connie said...

Beautiful post! So true!

Karen Mortensen said...

Love your thoughts. You are so blessed to have a friend like her.

bluegrassnotes said...

Very thoughtful E--nice.

anitamombanita said...

Sue, this was terrific! Empathy is such a rare and precious gift.

Anna M said...

I imagine you are the same for her.

Great friendships are life jackets.

Andy David said...

My dear Sue,
A very touching and TRUE post here today. A great friend is a treasure and someone who we can TRUST with all our heart and soul. Very well done my dear.

Leovi said...

Yes, definitely take the place of another person is difficult, especially in the society in which we live. Few people who have empathy.

Mumsy¸.¤ยช“˜¨ said...

I am glad to know that you have such close friend who can get your feelings and thought like that. It's very rare indeed.

RobinfromCA said...

Wonderful, as always. Interesting how the different dictionaries have slightly different definitions. Glad you had a great lunch with a great friend.
Robin

LeAnn said...

I too am so grateful for some great empathic friendships. I truly felt uplifted by your poem, and thoughts on this subject. I do think it is a gift; that perhaps we need to seek.
Blessings and hugs to you!

storybeader said...

It makes me feel special when I hear good things about this word because my mom tells me I have an empathetic nature! {:-Deb

Ames said...

I can't tell if I am empathetic or an absorber of all pain and anguish.~Ames

yaya said...

I'm happy that you have a wonderful friend like her and I bet she feels exactly the same way about you. Sometimes I've wondered when a person, not related to you, is so close a friend and they just "get" you so well, that maybe we knew each other before this life..hmmmm, food for thought.

Pondside said...

Empathy is the gift we'd all like to find in a friend. It's the thing that we know when we're on the receiving end. Not everyone is capable of empathy, but I think we could all try a little harder to develop it in ourselves.

Splendid Little Stars said...

How special to have such an empathetic friend! a treasure!

Rocky Mountain Woman said...

I have a friend like that, she is a treasure!

VBR said...

friends like this are precious and should be valued, as you do yours. lovely e post.

EG CameraGirl said...

You are fortunate to have found a friend who truly understands. I think empathy takes a certain energy that not everyone is willing to give. Most people are too self-centered to be able to understand how someone else feels. Just saying.

Caroline said...

I love friends who have that gift. And you are right--it is definitely one that is very special!

I'm so glad that you have (yet another) amazing friend! From my experience watching mom and dad, their friendships during retirement (and being able to find that match where both the husbands and both the wives get along well and genuinely) is SO important!

KDL said...

How fabulous that you have such a friend. Empathy is something I try to have, at least with people I care deeply about, but I'm not sure I ever really get there. It is a true gift. Blessings on your friendship!

Terra said...

I love that you have someone so wonderful in your life!!!

Jenny said...

Of course you have a friend like that!

You ARE a friend like that!

What an amazing picture!

What an excellent post!

Thanks for sharing this.

A+

A Woman Who LIVED said...

I love that poem, can I use it sometime on my blog with a link to you?

I love the picture of taking off my backpack and crossing the bridge to where another person is and then helping them carry their backpack. In the rare moments when someone does this for me, or I am able to fully do it magic happens.

Amy said...

A friend like that is so precious! And how wonderful that both you and Dave are so close to her and her husband. Wonderful.

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