Frieda L. Ferrick, MFT, Santa Rosa Counseling: Some Thoughts About The Importance of Empathy

The definition of empathy is:  “Understanding what someone else is feeling because you have experienced it yourself or can put yourself in their shoes.”

In order to have true empathy for others, I feel it is important to have empathy for yourself.

Learning about what empathy is and becoming in tune with yourself can begin an amazing journey of self- discovery, self -acceptance and healing.

When you begin the process of understanding who you are, the things that helped you be who you are and knowing why you do what you do all help begin the journey of self- acceptance.

Sometimes it is easier to be kind and accepting to someone else and yet not be able to be kind and accepting of yourself.

Why is that so?  I believe it is easier sometimes to pay attention to someone else’s problems because it takes your mind off you and the lessons you are here  to learn.

You begin to heal old wounds that keep you from yourself and therefore from others when you start to pay attention to what is going on internally.

When you start to care about who you are and become more authentic, you have in your heart, mind and spirit the ability  to truly become mindful and kind with yourself, family and friends.

The way to begin this journey is to start paying attention to how other people interact.  Were they kind and caring?  Or  did they say mean and hurtful things?

What kind of a person to you want to be?  You can begin to recognize what type of people you really want to have in your life.

If you are feeling a little lost with all of this, it helps to have a few good people to question and explore this with, a trusted friend, a family member, someone from your religious community

and/or a licensed counselor;  someone you feel safe with to explore  all the questions you may be having.

This journey may seem long as it so full of twists and turns.  But the life lessons you will learn on the way will be heart felt and valuable.