Remember…

A reminder for myself…well, for anyone, really…

“Empathy isn’t just something that happens to us—a meteor shower of synapses firing across the brain—it’s also a choice we make: to pay attention, to extend ourselves. It’s made of exertion, that dowdier cousin of impulse. Sometimes we care for another because we know we should, or because it’s asked for, but this doesn’t make our caring hollow. The act of choosing simply means we’ve committed ourselves to a set of behaviors greater than the sum of our individual inclinations: I will listen to his sadness, even when I’m deep in my own. To say “going through the motions”—this isn’t reduction so much as acknowledgment of the effort—the labor, the motions, the dance—of getting inside another person’s state of heart or mind. This confession of effort chafes against the notion that empathy should always arise unbidden, that genuine means the same thing as unwilled, that intentionality is the enemy of love. But I believe in intention and I believe in work. I believe in waking up in the middle of the night and packing our bags and leaving our worst selves for our better ones.”

Leslie Jamison, The Empathy Exams
(via fyp-psychology)

Beautiful writing

“I will only say, sweet is rest after labour and calm after tempest, and repeat again and again…”
– Charlotte Bronte about her sister Emily after her death.
http://www.lettersofnote.com/2016/04/like-tree-in-full-bearing.html

Very evocative, sad, and strong. There’s such a controlled undertone to the whole thing…

I do admire the “keep calm and carry on” mentality sometimes because people romanticize the “collapse from overwhelming sadness”…thing…sometimes. Don’t get me wrong, there is sincerity in that. There is no shame in showing your emotions especially if they’re devastatingly…big for you. Sharing it helps, I think, for dealing with those times. But I think people have a tendency to treat the people who feel grief and sadness but find a motivation to just do things, performs actions they think helps, tell themselves that this person is in a better place…I feel like there’s a tendency for people look down on these people and not give them the benefit of the doubt…which under these circumstances, oddly, giving them the benefit of the doubt means that they’re crushed too, that they feel too, that they might need a hug too. I don’t know. Been thinking a lot about how there’s a tendency toward needling and selfishness or self-centeredness, and just assuming that others don’t/couldn’t feel as much you personally do…