The Lies That Saved A Judge (I).
By Azriel Winnet.
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|Writers on human Communication often stress the role of empathy.
Many people confuse empathy with sympathy, but empathy is really is really so much more. My dictionary defines it as 'the quality or process of entering fully, through imagination, into another's feelings or motives.'
In the fullest sense, it implies putting yourself into the other person's shoes, or even getting into his or her skin, so that you really understand and feel his pain, fear - or more positively - his joys.
The opposite of empathy - in Communication terms - is invalidation. This is what happens when you express a feeling or idea and the person you are speaking to contradicts or rejects it. And when the emotion happens to be anxiety, sorrow, fear or the like, the rejection can be very painful.
Interestingly, the pain of rejection can be even more profound when the other party bears no ill will towards you. Indeed, the person you have confided in may sincerely believe she is offering you encouragement. But she fails miserably, because there is no empathy.
Children, who are particularly vulnerable, feel especially devastated when they are on the receiving end of such treatment. But, of course, it's not only children who feel this kind of trauma.
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