Conscious empathy is making the implicit explicit – the feelings and thoughts that we have when observing someone in pain or happiness, and the desire to do something.
The definition of conscious is to be aware, awake, or sensitive to what is going on around us or observing something in our environment. It is determined and intentional.
Deciding to be more consciously empathetic is to consider the joy or help it will bring to another. It is not what is convenient to us, but rather how our efforts could be most meaningful or supportive.
Many of the choices we will make are sensory; these are deliberate ways to comfort another. We may consider listening, soothing, or providing something of value (a cup of coffee, babysitting, clothing, food, a journal, etc.) and then take steps to bring it to life. In a leadership role, the giving of your time and attention for a one-to-one conversation is another way to offer support, knowledge, or improve the human connection.
Some call it compassion, kindness, or being nice. However, as it involves our emotions, thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, it is more all-encompassing. To aid another in a manner that is beneficial for them, we must give thoughtful and mindful consideration.
Next, to take this action we need to decide where to get the item, how we can give our time and energy, or what offer we can make to the individual. Emotional intelligence guides us in our social or interpersonal relationship to choose when it is most appropriate.
These processes may overlap simultaneously or as a train of thoughts connecting an outcome to the observation.
Research has shown that the giver experiences positive emotions and an increase in rewarding neurochemicals. For most people, it feels good to do good.
While we may experience a benefit in the giving, if it is offered without judgement or expectation of reciprocity, it is empathy.
Expanding our awareness, telescoping our attention to a situation or person, and identifying our range of thoughts and emotions are all ways to develop and experience empathy in action.
Empathy and care should not be at your own expense or drain your personal resources. However, the positive feelings are another side benefit of applying conscious empathy. Bringing happiness to two people at once is a very good thing.
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