Practical Empathy

Deep down, I break for others. I feel their pain, and it becomes overwhelmingly my own. The amount of caring I have for the hurting is unspeakably, inexpressibly vast. In theory, I’m a wonderful person to come to with problems. I’m available, kind, and nonjudgmental, but somehow there’s a divide between my heart and my outward expression.

When I talk to upset people, I’m a complete dork with my empathy. My face goes blank, I don’t know what to say, and I stiffen up like an internally-crying stick. All I can offer is an uncomfortably spoken, “Oh…that sucks.”The empathy doesn’t disappear; it blows up within me like a balloon, but I just can’t express it. What if I say something wrong? What if I come off as insincere or judgmental? Those kinds of questions keep me from putting my empathy into practice. So I sit, wanting to give every piece of myself away, but unable to find a way to do so.

I never want anything to deter others from talking to me. I make myself available to anyone at practically any time. Call me, and I’ll talk until 2 AM. Ask for company, and I’ll be over, even if it means walking. I don’t judge, hold grudges, or tune out. I’m there in every way I need to be, and I don’t exaggerate in any of this. At all.

If only I was as adept with others’ emotions as I am with my own, I would be the perfect empathizer.

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