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Empathy Is Also For The Joyful

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“Weep with those who weep,” tells us to be empathetic to those who are grieving.

But there’s another side we don’t think about: “Rejoice with those who rejoice.” That too is a call to empathy that is just as real as the sad side.  

Brene Brown says, in Daring Greatly, “Joy is probably the most difficult emotion to really feel. Why? Because when we lose the ability or willingness to be vulnerable, joy becomes something we approach with deep foreboding.”

She goes on to elaborate on how “we don’t want to be blindsided by hurt … so we literally practice being devastated or never move from self-elected disappointment.”

There’s an old prayer people offer at night that says,

“Tend the sick, Lord Christ; give rest to the weary, bless the dying, soothe the suffering, pity the afflicted, shield the joyous; and all for your love's sake. Amen."

Even the ancients knew how rickety joy can be by asking for the joyous to be shielded.

Besides, what right do we have to feel joy when the world is so troubled these days? We are notified of, if not bombarded with, horror. Just walking into our days can drag.

So when joy billows and bellies a person’s sails -- if they are shouting for joy, or jumping up and down, or just plain feeling good -- please consider the other side of empathy and celebrate with them.

I’m Katie Andraski, and that’s my perspective.

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