It’s not a punctuation error, putting a question mark in that title. It really is a question I have. Can you teach empathy? I’ve done a fair amount of reading lately about empathy, as it is a pretty central concept for successful counseling relationships and every text-book I read treats empathic tendencies as if they’re something we bring the table as part of who we are. As if being empathic is ingrained. So, my question is, are you born this way or can you learn?
I am old enough now to embrace parts of me that I think are good and admit them without worry of judgement for being pompous or haughty. (It took close to forty years, but I have finally realized liking yourself is not a crime against others.) One thing I am proud of is my empathic nature. I want to be clear that when I use this word I don’t mean sympathy. My tendency is not a simple, “aw too bad” one. What I do, and always have done is readily put myself in someone else’s shoes. Ask The Husband, I believe he’d tell you it is the thing he loves and hates about me most. Not only does this make arguments difficult as I try to see ALL sides but through our life together I have turned him into an over-tipper with the detailed stories about the server’s life that I spin while he calculates his 15, no 20, no 25% tip.Continue Reading