Unlocking the secrets behind Empathy.

Weird And Wonderful would love to explore the secrets of Empathy. I feel this is an ultimately important experience to write about, particularly when empathy is such a challenge for most individuals. This lead me to discover why and what part of the brain unlocks Empathy.

The most amazing thing about empathy is being able to see the other person’s point of view. Being able to challenge the mind and feel those feelings – having the ability to come out with a reasonable and sound judgement or solution to the problem the other person is having.

Are we trained as humans to be empathetic?

I feel we are. It is not an easy emotion to have. The ones who are overly Empathetic can find it hard to actually be able to detach themselves from situations – especially when they have unleashed that part of their mind. I feel we can help one another out with this but I do think it is not a gift. I would love to prove this. I would love to prove everyone has the ability to empathise. Even those with mental health problems or narcissistic tendencies. I would love to prove this throughout this post. We as human beings are amazing.

What part of the brain is used for empathy?

According to “The Journal of Neuroscience” Max Planck, (2013) we are born to use this part of our brains and some have not been able to unlock the empathy because of circumstances or their culture or even their learning:

“This specific part of your brain is called the the right supramarginal gyrus. When this brain region doesn’t function properly—or when we have to make particularly quick decisions—the researchers found one’s ability for empathy is dramatically reduced. This area of the brain helps us to distinguish our own emotional state from that of other people and is responsible for empathy and compassion.”

This is important for our own wellbeing. If we are not able to identify a problem we actually would not be able to communicate to resolve the problem.

Communication is a fundamental part to human interaction. We could be very basic non – verbal communication or verbal communiction. As upsetting as it seems it is the only way people know there is a problem. Continuing Max Planck, (2013):

“The right supramarginal gyrus ensures that we can decouple our perception of ourselves from that of others.”

The importance of being able to be able to utilise this lovely part of our brains that balances out our social, cultural and psychological wellbeing – appears to be deminishing. I feel it is sad to find out we have this part in our brains and people do not realise it is there. We all have levels of empathy but empathy is reflected by the way we respond for it to be classified as a Form of empathy. So communication is vital.

Why is that part of our brains not being used?

Quite a lot of reasons form as barriers for people who find it difficult channel their minds to empathise. I feel a number of influences can collide with decision making. A person could be too busy to make the correct response or have too much stress themselves. The key benefits to being able to see if your empathetic are self -awareness to improving the lives of others and things around you. As Christopher Bergland, (2013) explains: 

“When you are in an agreeable and comfortable situation it is more difficult to empathize with another person’s suffering. At a neurobiological level – without a properly functioning supramarginal gyrus – your brain has a tough time putting itself in someone else’s shoes.” 

The scariest thing about lacking empathy is being associated with  psychopathic behavioural traits. If this is true – then I know quite a lot of people who lack the ability to see another person’s point of view and I find it quite extrodinary they would not be challenged to think in an alternative way. For example when I wrote about What on earth is a social predator? You see the lack of empathy there as the person is able to manipulate the situation; there is a sort of inability to see how much harm they have created to other people due to their behaviour.  This could actually mean they are unempathetic.

Another example which I wrote about would be Why is life a Drama? I feel that people’s social influences impede them in their ability to empathise with others and actually thrive on drama and creating chaos or conflict. It isn’t my favourite thing to watch and I probably have been influenced in a different way.

So empathy is a wonderful innate response to have when people are feeling down. Having people in society that lack this response is quite dysfunctional because we all need to be heard and we all have boundaries.

So why do people need to have empathy?

There are really vulnerable people in society and I feel I do not lack the approach to assist people but I have noticed family memebers whom live a certain lifestyle or have experienced a certain point in their lives begrudgingly do not wish to understand communication deprivation is a Form of a person not being able to express their problems because they have not shown empathy.

How did you test out your own ways to be empathetic?

This is just going to be amazing – I see the other person’s point of view… I just reply back like they would need positive feedback. Here’s how I see it: I do not like negative feedback so when I do talk to people now it is through discussion and when I do feel negative I try not to think in a different way or still try to help others.

It seems just bizarre to me how anyone thinks i have survived on my own for this long without having empathy. A lot people who are unable to give positive feedback: encouraging, empowering, and compassionate; do become very defensive and very much angry.

I do feel this is a very dangerous time in people’s lives where we cannot afford to be ignorant to people’s circumstances and situations. Not everyone can be financially stable as I wrote about in Helping those who are not socially interacting;  I wish I could state this is not an ongoing problem. It is because certain families have the inability to empathise with one another when problems arise. However, it does resolve in time but empathy is not sympathy. Empathy is more to do with the actions of how to resolve the situation.

Which countries have the best empathy?

This is a tricky question. Well, experience has taught me about law’s, humanity and people’s rights.

If a country does not have the framework: stimulating and providing the behaviour of empathy in their culture; they are left within a bubble of suppression or oppression. They are also unable to stop harming one another.

I feel maybe people would come across as empathetic but if you sort of put them in a situation where they thought someone was an outcast then they would kill a person or stone them for being different. For countries who are educated and trained in empathy it feels – abstract to them – a culture willing enough to harm one another.

I suppose you could see it as a reflection of unempathetic countries because they have shown psychopathic tendencies towards one another; for the violence and such characteristics which are harmful.

As I read Bridget Cooper, (2011) she states that eduation is important especially for developing countries. Cooper, (2011) states:

“Informal learning often creates the conditions of learning and relationships associated with profound empathy. It is more relaxed and the learner has more choice and autonomy.”

Yes, there is a plus to informal learning – your mind expands at the endless possibilities and I feel you do change. It takes time to develop the skill. As we are always influenced by others and what we do – I feel we can just walk into certain situations and have a sense of awareness and capability when we are shown how to develop this part of the brain.

My own mother (here me empathise), bless her! Went through a harrowing family life. Without going into detail she had not developed the skills to be empathetic towards others because she had been desensitised. In other words her abuse became so overwhelming she lacked the ability to empathise. Ergo – I try to show as much as I am willing to show – however, I have discovered I can actually get by further in life by unlocking this part of my brain which controls empathy.

If Your mom was trying to teach you how to be empathetic and she was struggling herself; does that make you empathetic?

Actually, no – I have been trained by others to be empathetic. I mean – seriously they have had an amazing affect on me because I could be like a steam train pursuing something and not realising how much pressure you are under. Having someone with a sense of empathy means they wouldn’t want you to over exert yourself and are willing to get involved to prevent matters from esculating.

It is important for me to not only recognise but also have the ability to not focus on negative thoughts. Feel at one with myself and connect with a reasonable response.

Empathy Mind Map to help train your brain to think in this manner.
Empathy Mind Map to help train your brain to think in this manner.

I realise this is a skill which can only be developed through having awesome teachers or even better still forming scenarios and acting them out. As Cooper, (2011) states;

“Empathetic Teachers do their best to subvert the dullness of the curriculum and deadening rituals of government policies.”

So, this is a prime example of how to become wonderfully empathetic. Having someone actually step into your world and come down to your level to help you understand what you can achieve to unlock your potential. This vast world we live in learning is a life long experience. Empathy is our innate response. However, it can be cultivated if certain individuals are unable to unlock the part in their brain which is not connected to seeing the other person’s view.

How do you feel you can justify empathy can be a unlocked?

A little while ago I was trying to seek how to justify things through thinking about philosophy. This is shown in Justification where I thought about the quote: “I think therefore; I am.” So, everyone has the ability to be empathetic. It is just their response which needs refinement or some kind of conditioning.

Why is this reasoning of empathy important to everyday life?

I realise people really need to interact with others and they also need to trust the people they interact with. I feel compassionate towards those who are feeling silenced in certain circumstances to not want to discuss their personal lives – however some people in life are needing empathy even more than others to break boundaries.

Look at the following people:

Doctors

Dentists

Nurses

Teachers

Health and social care workers

Surgeons

Counsellors 

Lawyers

Customer service advisors

Politicians

We rely on these individuals to help us all in life so of course it is very important for them to have the ability to empathise and show how to overcome certain circumstances with a reasonable and sound response.

We trust them with our confidential infornation and we want them to understand our perspective. If they do not have time for us we become disheartened and feel our self – worth has deminished.

So have they made a  mistake about people not being able to empathise?

Yes, they have: Magnificently. We all have the part in our brain which is empathetic but we must be trained to respond in the correct manner. Here is proof that people have the ability to empathise: Psychology research breakthrough suggests narcissists are capable of empathy – Dr Hepper, (2014) . This fascinates me more because I want to find out about empathy and what makes some of us weird and wonderful.  As Dr Hepper, (2014) declares:

“Empathy is important as a ‘social glue’ that helps personal relationships and social bonds to form, develop and endure. High narcissists may be very successful in their chosen careers (whereas people with NPD often find day-to-day life very difficult), but without empathy they are much more likely to experience interpersonal failures in their private, professional and social lives.” 

As we see the difficulties of a person not being able to cope without empathy because their day to day life can become quite unbalanced. Do beg my pardon for using Dr Hepper, (2014) a lot throughout the end of this post but like my other posts he too backs me up further and states:

“The bad news for all of us is that, collectively, we seem to be getting more narcissistic. Studies suggest that narcissism has been increasing across different cultures for the past three decades (as measured by the Narcissistic Personality Inventory (NPI)), with younger people more likely to exhibit narcissism than older generations. Empathy appears to be on the decrease.” 

I really do not have narcissistic tendencies – I am the one who sits there reading the law’s so I can empower people. I like being a humanitarian wearing my favourite band t-shirt ‘s. I avoid any kind of plastic surgery or enhancements unless it is tattoos. I love myself enough to love others.

“This is important for us all, as narcissists tend to use more than their fair share of resources, are more prone to aggressive or anti-social behaviour, and are more likely to commit crimes and go to prison. People with low empathy levels are also less likely to engage in pro-social activities such as volunteering or supporting charities.” 

I love people so I am not narcissistic. I cannot wait to work with the elderly again. Sorry but vulnerable people are all around. I have had my fair share of those feelings. To Summarise Dr Hepper, (2014) states: “the implementation of these individuals is to focus on their self – esteem.” I totally agree; I read Carl Rogers, (1956) client centred practice; I felt lost over the ideology of a psychologist not being able to step into the shoes and relate to someone.  Really this sense of being able to listen to an individual and be in tune or akin to them made me realise the possibilities of the breakthrough of empathy.

So why do you get angry when people lack empathy towards you?

We are all human. I think being decent and having good values is a state of self – esteem. I do feel angry when people behave in a certain manner and disregard others because it shows they lack compassion or have not developed the skills of showing empathy.

How else apart from self-esteem can individuals increase their empathy?

  • Switch the TV off.
  • Don’t force God on people – it is another sign of lack of empathy. You are forcing your values on others.
  • Write about the situation and try to discuss it.
  • Try to resolve issues without creating drama.
  • Do not bully/manipulate people to prove you don’t lack empathy – it makes matters worse.
  • Try not to focus on one quality of a person.
  • Try to see the whole individual and try to understand and reason by asking them yourself.
  • Never try to talk about yourself until the person has finished talking about their problem first.
  • If you feel stressed – try to say it isn’t the best time to talk and ask when would be better.
  • Try to listen to how others have coped in other situations.
  • Try not to force your opinions on others.
  • If you see someone is distressed try to find away to engage in an appropriate time to discuss matters.
  • Do not dislike the person for showing there emotional instability.
  • Try not to focus on the negative points and try not to tell the person “that’s how you are though”…. or negative things like that…. try and get them to talk about the problem. Until even they have an answer to their problems by their own thoughts.
  • Being there for someone is the greatest gift. Even if you haven’t much to say.
  • Write about your responses to help improve your empathy.

Good luck because I know it is an artful trait. If you are like me and you detest conflict. Resolving issues can be quite rewarding.

Advertisements

2 comments

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s