A fair share of empathy

This Sunday just gone I attended a course on Neuroscience. In other words I was learning about how our brains work or actually more accurately about the current understanding of how our brains work.  New discoveries are made all the time and I really like that the lovely professor (Patricia Riddle) who is teaching us emphasizes that no one can really know for sure, but research allows someone like her to form strong hypothesises. (What a fiddly word. Am not sure it is presented in its correct form, but bear with me.)

Anyhow, I am getting sidetracked from what I really wanted to share here today which is that although the human brain can have plenty of empathy for others, it is (according to current knowledge) unable to let us feel empathy for ourselves. Isn’t that fascinating? This little nugget of information has been whizzing around my brain and I am left wondering if that is the main reason so many people excel at giving themselves a really hard time. ”I feel no empathy for myself.” Full stop.

If you are one of those people, it might be worth considering doing role plays, where you pretend to be “a friend”. Literally imagine it is someone else who is experiencing what you are experiencing and feel yourself have empathy for your “friends’” situation. What would you tell that friend? How supportive would you be towards someone in that situation? Then step back into your own shoes taking the kind words and support with you. Definitely worth a try next time we give ourselves a real hard time, don’t you think? When it comes to empathy it would simply be fair to share.

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