Final Essay Questions

1. What do the terms empathy and sympathy mean to you?
To me, empathy is being able to feel someone else's feelings. Sympathy is being able to put yourself in their shoes, while not actually feeling what the other person is feeling. Empathy is being able to put yourself in another's shoes while also actually feeling what he or she feels.

2. Do you feel that compassion is a natural result of being empathetic?
No. Compassion is something a person must work at. I know when I get bombarded with many different emotions at once, it is very hard to be compassionate. When I get bombarded with many different emotions, I have to work at detangling them and figuring out where they are coming from before I can feel any compassion about any of it.

3. Do you notice an affinity towards a specific aspect of empathy?
Yes. I seem to have an easier time feeling other people rather than places or situations. I can usually read a person right off but a place or a situation requires a bit more concentration on my part. I have to be able to sit quietly for a few minutes before I can read a place. Situations for me are the hardest. I can read and feel the emotion of the situation but it takes me a bit to be able to read the situation itself.

4. Describe your ideal self-care routine.
I don't even know what that means right now. I am taking care of so many others that I don't think I've actually had the time or the energy to care for myself. Right now my self-care consists of going to bed early and watching a movie or television show that I enjoy. I guess ideally, I would love the time to enjoy a warm bath for more than 5 minutes. To just take some time for myself would be great right now. I enjoy time in my garden to read.

5. What methods do you find most helpful in handling your empathy?
Isolation! This has always been how I have handled my empathy. If I get too overwhelmed, I have to go off by myself for a bit until I can figure out what is me and what is not. I am slowly learning how to shield myself from some of this so that I can handle it better, but I am still learning and still have difficulty with it. I look forward to the day that I can enjoy being around more than one or two people at a time without the fear of overwhelm.

6. Do you feel your view of empathy is generally more positive, negative, or neutral?
In the past I would have said more negative, but now that I am learning more how to work with it, it's been positive lately. I can tell when my hubby is having a hard time with things and I am able to help him more with everything which is nice. I can also help my father more as well. The more I learn, the more positive I am feeling about this gift.

7. What is meant by shutting down?
Shutting down is something I used to do quite often. It is the process of not allowing anything through. Not paying attention to anything or for me, it was to rest. I had to do this so that I could take a break from everyone and everything for a bit so I could recharge and do it all over again.

8. Describe the idea of Seva.
This is the process of giving selfless service. This is to help someone just to help them. You would not expect any form of payment or acknowledgment for what you have done other than knowing that you have helped another. Many seem to see it as part of a spiritual practice because you are giving of yourself without thought of payment or repayment.

9. Do you see all empathy as one of the Clair senses?
Yes. Because the Clair senses are labeled as “knowing”, that is what empathy does too. You just know something about someone or something or somewhere. It could be gut feeling or something stronger, but it's still a knowing.

10. Have you developed any or have a natural gift for any of the Clair senses?
In the sense of being empathetic, I would say yes, I have a bit of a natural gift. I have always been able to read people fairly accurately. This has helped me in so many situations that I have been thankful for it some, but the constant bombardment of different emotions makes it hard to deal with most of the time.

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