The Door to Compassion
Being able to feel things on a deep level has been both a blessing and a curse throughout my life. Ever since I was a small child I’ve been able to pick up on people's feelings, motives, and moods. It’s instinctual and simple to read when someone is hurting or hiding something deep rooted. Anyone that exhibits empathic traits and picks up on this so called ‘vibe’ knows what I’m talking about.
Depending on how emotionally charged the other person is, simply standing next to them will invariably expose their feelings. That, coupled with my curiosity, will invite conversation from chatty people. Sometimes this can lead to awkward exchanges if the person is a stranger, but more often than not I can help the person by just chatting for a while. Being friendly and helping someone along their way is satisfying at times. It really is about how you talk to them. A genuine smile can also go a long way, it’s kind of infectious and feels good for both parties.
Rarely do I ever use this ability to hurt people, even if I was capable of shaping a situation to my advantage. I can recall on one hand how many times I used it for survival purposes. I have used my ability to pick up on others feelings while arguing or debating to get a one up; but I will never let it go too far unless that person has extended my patience rope. It goes against my moral compass to use words or feelings that twist around someone’s heart and destroy them. However, if I ever did have to use it in a “nefarious” way, it would be for the sake of the other person’s well being and to embolden them through a sticky situation.
Yes. I absolutely consider this to be a manipulation.
But at times, people can get so caught up in their own messes that it would be necessary to use tactics that would benefit the person. I never like to encourage someone to just feel a situation out, this can lead to an endless loop of talking about feelings for hours. It doesn’t help and it always discourages in the end. Sure, the person might feel better, but they haven’t solved the issue. Helping a person uncover their strength and reclaim their sense of self through the use of compassion is usually my goal.
People are important and sometimes we all need to be reminded that we aren’t just walking, talking meat sacks on this spinning rock.
While I do enjoy helping others in need from time to time, I like to keep it at a minimum. (Had a hard time with this when I was younger.) I have a tendency to get caught up in everyone else’s problems if I’m feeling lonely or depressed that external validation is my only goal. I don’t always want to be the constant ear to someone and their life troubles, yet I’m often stuck in said situations because of my friendly nature. Sometimes I think people see a sticker on my forehead that says, “Tell me all about your shitstorm, I’ll listen for free!” Patience is a virtue, right?
So, how do I usually go about this kind of encouragement when someone needs help? It’s quite simple and usually goes along a small line of questioning in my mind that looks something like this:
- Compassion and listening are paramount.
- Individuals feelings on problem.
- Individuals thoughts on problem.
- How are their feelings and logic clashing on said problem?
- What are the personal strengths of the person I’m talking with?
- Are they smart enough to handle this without needing more help?
- Encourage weakness to become strength or outline the strength of the individual.
- Reassess the values and strengths of the person by stating how they can help themselves using clever language.
- Seek other avenues for the person if they are open to the possibility.
- Bend over backwards if the problem truly can’t be solved by the person on their own.(Which I am more than happy to do if the person is in dire need.)
If someone comes to me for advice or approaches me wanting to chat, it’s an inevitability that the person's feelings, problems, or mood will come to the surface if we connect. I’ve met some very interesting people this way. But then again, I’ve also met some strange ones. It opens doors that leads me back to connecting with myself and my passions.