Saturday, February 26, 2011

Empathy

It is said people on the autism spectrum have no empathy. I think it's more a case of not being able to, or knowing how, to show empathy.

When I see pictures of natural disasters, hungry children, grieving parents, and other heart-wrenching scenes, I am affected. In fact, I often feel overwhelmed. My impulse is to help in some way, but often the scale is too big, or fixing it is impossible.

When I walk into a room, and a co-worker is crying (as happened last week), I care, but I don't know what to do. There are expectations in such a situation, but I don't know quite what they are. Do I hug her? Are we close enough to do that? How long do I hug her, if I do? What do I say? What if she's crying about something that's her fault--and what do I say then? These are many more questions race through my mind. Yes I care, but while I'm standing there, another co-worker sweeps in and applies a hug, and I'm left feeling awkward.

I would not describe myself as 'warm and fuzzy'. I've found 'warm and fuzzy' people are often not genuine. It seems people tend to like warm and fuzzy more than they like genuine, but I don't, so there's another thing that makes me different.

1 comment:

  1. That describes me quite well about seeing someone cry. I feel like I might look cold, but passing on by without saying or doing something, but I'm not sure what to do and all those same questions run through my mind.

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