How Empathy Can Help You Heal
Empathy, or the ability to step into the shoes of another person and feel what he or she is feeling, is often hijacked by addiction. This is because it’s often difficult to see beyond your own needs while abusing drugs or alcohol. Also, as drug cravings and withdrawal become more intense, the ability to relate to others diminishes.
Yet learning empathy is a vital recovery skill, according to the World Health Organization. It will allow you to build supportive relationships, make better decisions and can even help you stress less. Researchers have found that those who lack the ability to empathize often pick up the stress of others without knowing why. This concept is called “second-hand stress.”
Learning empathy can help you feel less isolated, too. When you “get” how another person is feeling, it’s easier to connect and form a bond. Just be careful to surround yourself with others who are empathetic, which can go a long way in helping you restore your own empathy.
Here are a few more ways that empathy can help you:
- You’ll be a better communicator.
- You’ll be more self-aware.
- You’ll be more positive.
- You’ll be more open-minded.
- You’ll be less intolerant.
- You’ll be less self-absorbed.
Experts often sight empathetic listening, honesty (with yourself and others) and vulnerability as key to developing empathy. Above all, begin by having empathy for yourself and forgiving yourself for any past wrongs committed during active addiction. Once you do so, you’ll be better equipped to extend this same empathy to family members and friends along your journey toward lasting recovery.
Restoring Relationships at Seabrook®
Our three-day Family Matrix Program allows families to begin to heal and strengthen the family bonds strained by addiction. To learn more about our facilities and addiction programs, call today: 856-455-7575.