Empathy is Different Than Being Nice
You ever meet just the nicest person who have the best attitude about everything all the time? No matter what they go through, they maintain their positive outlook, continue being nice to others, and seem to rise above the madness. Such people are inspiring. You might meet them and hope that you could get through your negative experiences in such a way. Impassioned by their positivity, you approach them to see if they’d be willing to share their wisdom.
Your hope is that you would be able to explain what you are going through and get their positive influence. According to research, overly positive people aren’t the most empathetic to their peers who are going through or recounting a difficult time, reports Big Think.
Participants in the study watched videos of people telling their life stories, two of which were happy and two of which were sad. During the video, the participants had to rate (on a second by second basis!) how negative or positive they felt the speaker was feeling. “Participants with a more upbeat personality believed their accuracy on this task to be higher than others,” the article explains, “In fact, happy participants found it harder to judge the emotional tone of a highly negative monologue, in which a participant described the death of a parent.
Empathy isn’t necessarily a universal trait. Instead, empathy might better be considered a skill which needs to be developed over time. Recovery encourages us to be more empathetic, with ourselves and with others. By definition, empathy means “the ability to understand and share the feelings of others.” Being empathetic means being able to understand that everyone does go through pain. Maybe not everyone can be empathetic toward one another’s pain, but everyone does go through it.
Empathy is Good For Recovery
Positive attitudes are helpful in recovery for keeping away the toxic negativity which can lead to relapse. However, there is a catch. As the research indicates, sometimes positive attitude can get in the way of other emotions.
Hardwired to ignore negative feelings in search of pleasure, it is easy to cling to the sunny side all the time in order to avoid any darkness. Life is a combination of both. Recovery is learning how to live life on life’s terms, which means the good and the bad.
Lakehouse Recovery Center wants to see you thrive in recovery. Our residential treatment programs focus on clinical therapy, holistic healing, a whole lot of fun. We believe each client should learn how to make meaning in their lives again through recovery. For more information or to schedule a private tour, call us today at 877.762.3707.