Being empathic tends to mean that you can sense how other people are feeling. It’s like they are broadcasting their emotions. Sometimes this is passive. Other times it’s very active.
I believe that everyone is capable of experiencing this. You can learn to be empathic, but it requires that you desire to be capable of doing this.
Some, like me, have an innate capability with this. With very little to no effort, I can frequently sense what someone is feeling. It’s not quite the same as the other five senses, but it’s there.
That sense, however, is still vague. It’s a really broad, largely overarching sensation. I can’t be completely specific about the how of the emotion I can sense, and my knowledge of the what is rather general.
This is because I can’t get inside your head. I can only get what I see from outside, and that is going to be colored by MY perception.
This is why, when I write about mindfulness, I refer to what and how you are feeling as a part of it. What you are feeling can be particularly unique from how you are feeling.
The what of feeling is the broadcast an empath like myself can pick-up. The how, on the other hand, is too broad and variable to be a part of my understanding.
Only you can feel how you feel
There are a lot of words used to describe emotions, both positive and negative. Happy, sad, tired, hyper, frustrated, excited, fearful, joyful, and on and on. The words may be the what of feelings, but they don’t necessarily convey the how of feelings.
Words tend to have multiple meanings. Because of this, how I interpret a feeling is going to be based on my own experiences, environment, and personal understanding. That could be similar or different from you, but either way, I can’t get inside your head.
Even having an idea of what you are feeling, knowing how you are feeling is a whole other matter. In my own experience and emotional states, the how can be variable. Anger, for example, can be cold, red-hot, white-hot, and more.
Because of all these variations within myself, I know that they are within you, too. So I can’t get inside your head. But neither can you get inside mine.
Communication is everything
Emotion is a complicated matter. Feelings are composed of whats and hows, and those can be totally variable depending on the given situation. No matter how empathic I am, nor how I can sense what you are feeling, my understanding is extremely limited.
So we can talk about it. You can share the what of your feeling rather easily. The how, on the other hand, no matter how much we communicate, might be a lot more difficult to pinpoint and explain.
Still, communication is the only way that we can work on better understanding one another and our feelings. My empathic read is going to be totally vague, so communicating is going to be best for any understanding.
But I can’t get inside your head. Thus, how you are feeling, no matter how much we talk about it, is going to be only partially understood by me.
It is on me to be understanding of this limitation. I know that I can’t feel how anyone else is feeling. Even my recognition of what someone else is feeling is limited by my interpretation, experience, and knowledge-base.
If there is communication between us we can work to form better understanding. It may be imperfect — it will always be imperfect — but nothing is perfect, really.
Different, but the same
I can’t get inside your head. What you are thinking, how and what you are feeling, and the intentions behind your actions belong to only you. But this is a two-way street, and you can’t get inside my head, either.
I can write about this again, and again, and again. No matter how much I share my perspective, your understanding will be limited by your experience, knowledge, environment, etc. We are different from one another.
But at the same time, we are the same.
Everybody thinks, feels, and acts. Some are more mindful of this than others. There are lots of examples of people who march to the beat of their own drum, and those who clearly fall in line to some invisible, sometimes absurd drummer. The choice is always going to belong to you.
How and what you feel is going to be unique to you. What is similar, though, is that I also think and feel. There will, undoubtedly, be examples of you being right when I am wrong, and me being right when you are wrong. Further, there will also be examples where we are both — or neither — in the right or wrong.
It’s easy to forget that other people have their own experiences and understandings of life, the Universe, and everything. Mindful or not, consciously or subconsciously, they are there, too. You can’t control them, how much influence you have will vary wildly, and you can’t get inside anyone else’s head.
As different as people are, we are also very much the same. We all seek food, shelter, comfort, love, respect, connection, disconnection, understanding, and more. Some of these things are tangible while others are intangible. Better recognition of this fact might lead to less conflict.
Conflict is generally borne of misunderstanding
I can’t get inside your head, you can’t get inside my head. When we don’t communicate we open the way to misunderstanding. Intentional or unintentional, the consequence can be conflict.
Conflict between individuals asserting their uniqueness is going to happen. This becomes problematic, however, when it widens and encompasses more than one person. Communities in conflict lead to the current political disaster that is the United States.
Broader community conflicts can lead to wars.
Any and all changes need to start small. They start with individuals. When you and I strive to better understand one another, and our thoughts, feelings, and the intent of our actions, we reduce the potential for conflict. What’s more, this opens us all up to better understanding.
No matter how much we talk or spend time together I can’t get inside your head, nor can you get inside mine. But we can work together to foment understanding, and that can go a long way towards lessening conflict and opening the way to more and better understanding.
You are worthy and deserving of using your mindfulness to find and/or create the reality in which you desire to live. When all is said and done you and I matter.