What is Empathy?

Lets start with the definition of what Empathy means shall we?
empathy
ˈɛmpəθi/
noun
  1. the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.

Straight forward enough? it is being aware of your significant other (or anyone else but I will focus on our SO) and their feelings at a given time. At a guess I will assume that most of you reading this believe you understand what your SO is feeling and therefore have empathy for them? Esteemed reader, this couldn’t be further from the truth!

You see the difference is where understanding and Empathy come from in our own bodies.

  1. Understanding is from our head, our logic knows that because my SO had an argument and lost a friend, she is hurting, she is feeling the pain of loss and possibly many other emotions. Our logical brain thinks through all these things and we believe that to be empathetic and enough – Call out to all men!!! we are great with logic 🙂
  2. Empathy on the other hand comes from the heart, it has both emotion and logic applied, its the understanding that my SO lost a friend and therefore all the above may be true, but we also feel that pain, we understand and feel the hurt along with her –  Call out again 🙁 …. We aren’t so great here!

Some men (myself) find we apply logic to a situation brought to them and understand that as empathy because that is what we know to do and have always done.

This is not what our partners are asking from us when they come to us with a situation like the above, they are most often looking for us to really feel their pain, to relate, to know what its like to be in their shoes, most of all, to be the rock that they can depend on to understand and have their back.

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