A way empathy helps the empathizer

February 14, 2012

I was thinking just now about someone I used to know years ago, and about how I see how things fell apart.  I’m pretty sure now that he took why I did what I did differently from how I thought about it, and I think he underestimated how his behavior impacted me before I left.  What occurred to me suddenly is that if he lacks a way of understanding how other people may feel as a result of his own behavior, then he is missing information to help him understand their responses to him.  Which then produces more misunderstandings and supports an inaccurate model for predicting behavior, too.  So, while empathy may be painful in some ways, in the long run it is probably a benefit, the way feeling pain is when touching a hot stove.

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