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Day Thirteen

Cultivating Empathy

The word “empathy” came into the English language when Edward Titchener adopted the German word Einfühlung, which means "feeling into". According to Merriam-Webster dictionary, empathy means "imagining, or having the capacity to imagine, feelings that one does not actually have". Another way to put it is to have the ability to feel into what other people are feeling. 

Thanks to neuroplasticity, our brains are capable of being rewired to be more empathetic through mindfulness practice. Mindfulness helps us feel our own shoes and be aware and accepting of our own feelings and emotions. Then, it will allow us to detect others' feelings and emotions through the effect of the mirror neurons. To put it simply, when someone shows us an emotion, such as sadness, the same part of our brain will be lit up so that we can share the feeling of sadness as if it's our own.

Today's Challenge

Journaling: "Feel into" the shoes of three people you know. (3 minutes for each person)
1. Someone that you love
2. Someone that you have a neutral relationship with
3. Someone that you have struggled to understand and be empathetic towards

“As I began to love myself I recognized that my mind can disturb me and it can make me sick. But as I connected it to my heart, my mind became a valuable ally. Today I call this connection 'Wisdom of the heart'."                                                                                          – Kim & Alison McMillen

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