Wow! My jaw is dropped. Bethan, you have clarified to me what experiencing being pitied truly is. I am a nurse of 27 years. I have helped many, many people. I tend to anticipate needs and simply ‘take care of it’. This is by no means pitying anyone. I tend to be on the extreme end of empathic and my heart Somewhere in heaven my mother is smiling down on me shirt naturally aches deeply when people are experiencing terminal diseases. It’s NATURAL for me to express deep kindness and connect to the person within the reality of the disease. When you KNOW someone has limited time .. it’s hard to NOT be sad because it is a sad situation.
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I “liked” what you had to say as your reply talked of those things I feel are important, like being empathetic and in your actions act from your heart with love that is unconditional – just love ….. Whatever your interactions are just be genuine, be yourself, feel love for yourself then give your, Somewhere in heaven my mother is smiling down on me shirt love in tiny beautiful actions and your intent reveals itself – that can be felt as love and they will understand what you mean… Love is all there is.
There’s a difference between sympathy and empathy. I work as an Occupational Therapist in the acute care hospital setting and the patients that I see daily are the individuals that would prefer if staff didn’t “pity” them or provide “sympathy” to their situations… all my patients want is an individual to be able to empathize with their situation. Listen to them and appreciate their differences, and then in turn, help them or assist them with their needs (if warranted). I don’t know if you were taught to sympathize, or if whoever taught you, meant to teach you how to empathize.
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But, dang, we can not stay there .. we acknowledge the reality then move on to the ‘present’ because it is a gift. And .. another reality is, anyone of us could die in a car accident and be taken immediately. As well, man, life is a struggle period .. if it isn’t one thing, it’s another! We all have a cross to bear.