Empathy for Self-Gain: Being Understood

Could developing my empathy skills help improve my own experience of life?

Experiments to test whether co-opting our natural, self-interested motivations can gain mutual benefit and emotional growth.

What are your thoughts on this idea?

empathy. Noun. The action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experience of another of either the past or present without having the feelings, thoughts and experience fully communicated in an objectively explicit manner.
Definition describes ‘cognitive’ and ’emotional’ empathy (also called ‘social’ empathy). See link for more info including the third type: ‘compassionate’ empathy/’empathic concern’ (the ’empathy’ that makes you want to act)

Does this feel familiar?

“People frequently don’t understand me. I don’t understand why.

I frequently feel confused by people”.

Impact

“When I interact I often feel motivated to prove myself, gain attention, approval, prove I’m right, compete, persuade, convince, gain recognition or validation. I often feel insecure or self-conscious when I don’t get this which is a genuinely sensitive experience for me.

This drives me to: frequently focus on myself in conversations- my opinions, my judgements, my experiences, my ideas, my jokes, my stories, my achievements, my talents”.

I less frequently ask open, curious questions about other people’s lives or spend equal time focusing on what they want to contribute about themselves.

Other people frequently interact with me like this too and I’ve never understood why”.

Empathy Experiment

Be explicit with myself:

Paying attention to all my feelings, thoughts, and behaviour, what am I seeking emotionally from my interactions with people? When and with whom is it necessary for me to receive this? When can I accept not receiving this?

Contrast with them:

Noticing their actions, words, behaviour, choices, might they too have the same needs? What are they showing? When, and with whom can I provide this? When is this less possible?

Share responsibility:

How can I seek to balance my identical needs with theirs? How can we explore different ways of achieving this in the way we interact with each other?

If you tried this, how did it work for you?

Maybe you already do something similar? Tell me how you use your understanding of people to help yourself be understood?

Empathy for Self-Gain: Being Understood.

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