Emotions and Empathy
BY: T. Franklin Murphy | September 2018 (edited 2021)
Shared feelings bring new aliveness. For some, feelings are frightening. They avoid contact with feeling, interfering with connections to others.
Being in touch with budding feelings of personal experience is essential before we can empathically relate to feelings of someone else. If our own feelings are unacceptable, shunned and buried, we will also recoil at other people's feeling experience. Emotion frightens those unaccustomed to feeling.
Intimacy, closeness and security arise from welcomed vulnerability to emotion. We connect through shared experience with empathy, attuning to each others felt experience. The thick walls of indifference tumble. Suddenly, the selfish and cold experience of logic loses supremacy for the warmth of aliveness. We must be capable of feeling before we can feel empathize and connect.
If you suffer from the malady of fright (afraid to feel), adaptive practices can introduce you to the rich world of feeling. Emotions don’t have to remain hidden in the dull greys of a protected world. We can change, open our hearts, and see the colors we have missed.
Our fears may initially prevent full exploration of an unknown world. We begin the journey with gentle exposures, mindfully dipping in one foot at a time, remembering forgotten pains, and basking in present joys. As we allow quietness to weave its way through our psyche, gently exploring our feelings, without word or commentary, we open to this magical world. We slowly discover this new aliveness. We first discover ourselves and then, when ready, discover the vibrant inner world of others.
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