--When I talk to you, I can have ideas and perspectives I can't otherwise have.
--So I'm generative? That's the most touching compliment anyone's ever given me.
During the weekend of Lee's wedding last year, a group of us were debating the difference between empathy and sympathy. We ate our complimentary hotel breakfasts, the girls with hair still wet, while stating what we believed the difference was. At the time, I'd touted proudly that I had high empathy but low sympathy.
Often, my gf tells me I'm not a good listener. And my usual response to cite back everything she's said to me as evidence that I am a good listener. But when a person uses evidence to justify a moral condition... a statement of being... there is often something more. Something hidden.
Last night, I realized crystal clear with my forebrain that I wasn't a good listener. And it was because I knew this deep down that I had always taken pride with my ability to recall what people had said. It allowed me to wear a veneer of being a good listener. But I wasn't actually trying to get inside the other person's head. I was always stuck in mine.
-- How will you work on becoming a better listener?
And at the end of that conversation I felt empathy for the first time. Not just a grandstanding and rational knowledge of why a person was a certain way. No sense of i've been there and when i was there i was so stupid so even though i know what you're going through you're stupid. What I felt was a true out of my head experience of feeling what the other person felt -- Three persons came to me during this -- and a shared feeling of melancholy.
Empathy requires sacrifice. One I hadn't been able to make for the longest time. And that sacrifice is some sense of tranquility.
I'm at a crossroad on this. Do I value tranquility and sticking in my own head. Or will I bear the pain of being connected with other human beings? Will I live a painful yet fulfilling truth, or live a tranquil lie?