Look at the world around us through someonelse’s eyes can be difficult for some people and totally useless to others. But to train ourself in doing it could become a great resource to use as often as our “Spectacles of Life” doesn’t show us how to handle hard situations we may be involved in. Quite often misunderstandings are the result of the inability to put oneself in the other. We tend, sometimes, to transform our scales of values and judgment in a kind of Berlin Wall that prevent the real encounter with the other person, often perceived as a potential invader of our subjective truth. Values and judgments become different and we turn them into swords ready to lash their beliefs.
Often people’s judged because of their clothes, their speeches, their way in approaching the others or their sexual orientation, and if all this turns out to be at first sight far from our own way of being, we often build distances, not considering any chance of confrontation . “The Diversidad Nos Enriquece” says a Spanish commercial, part of a campaign that tries to break down prejudices and stereotypes about gay people, old people, migrants … Actually Diversity can put us on a different, and better, path and it can also strengthens our identity, but to make it possible to act in this way, we must find the courage to receive, and not to flee from the fear that we swallow.
This ability is innate or can be learned?
Skipping to a technical language, the neurophysiological basis of the Empathy is innate in all of us, (I’ll talk about this into my next post) but can be stimulated or made atrophic by the imprinting of the family environment in which the child lives his first years of life. A familiar and supportive restraining, marked on listening to the needs of the child lays the foundation for developing the ability to define personalities, to read and to understand the inner life of the other.
But in the end, what is Empathy?
“A meeting of two: eye to eye, face to face
And when you are near I will tear your eyes out
and place them instead of mine
and you will tear my eyes out and place them instead of yours
then I will look at you with your eyes and you will look at me with mine. ”
This excerpt from the poem by J.L. Moreno “Invitation to an Encounter” well explains what happens when two people can really make an experience of the other. J.L. Moreno is the founder of Psychodrama, an action method used as a psychotherapy. This method applies some techniques to stimulate specific mental functions, some of which allow people to put themselves in someonelse’s shoes, to feel its inner life and express it. This allows the person to train his capacity for empathy, to get out the habit of a “own-being-focused” and to make the horizons of interpretation of his reality wider as much as possible.