Empathy, Detachment and Compassion to others healing needs.
When we have a 'friend-in-need' in our view, it is important to listen carefully.
Not only to them, but to yourself as well.
Empathy is sometimes mistaken or confused with Sympathy and Apathy. Here is what I mean by that. A friend complains to you of an issue they are having. Below would be the three different responses to them from you if you were....
Apathetic: "Well, if you think that's bad, let me tell you what happened to me.... blah, blah, blah."
It is Apathy because you don't really care what happened to them, your ego just saw a great place to gain some sympathy, recognition, wow-factor, and basically someone to tell your sad, sad story to someone. This doesn't promote healing for them on any level whatsoever.
Sympathetic: "Wow, you poor thing...
I feel your problem; I need to solve it for you.” or
I feel I cannot get ahead until you are doing better.” or
My preoccupation with your issues is an expression of my love; it’s what any family member ought to do.” or
What happens to you happens to me.”
This is the Ego of the would-be/should-be helper stepping in and taking on the other’s issue as if they are the only ones that can help them. A double-negative does not cancel the issue… it creates a bigger negative. Here you become part of the problem, not part of the solution.
Empathy means Detachment and Compassion for the other.
This starts the healing of the other because in any situation it is the one with the issue that has to want to heal. So, without ego, without attachment and with compassion say these words to yourself before you listen to someone who seeks your sympathy or help: