Empathy is the ability to put yourself into someone else shoes, see things from their perspective, and feel compassion for them. Empathy is an emotion all should possess, whether they've experienced the pain of another personally or not. When someone is actively engaging in drug or alcohol use, their emotions become affected. They become focused on obtaining drugs or alcohol and using them.
As a result, they may fail to see how they have hurt others, even those closest to them. Learning to have empathy in recovery is very important because it allows one to work toward mending the relationships that they have damaged or broken. It provides one with the necessary compassion to view things through others' perspectives and understand where they're coming from.
How Can Support Group Meetings Help Me Develop Empathy in Recovery?
Attending support group meetings can be a great place to start when you're working towards developing empathy in recovery. At these meetings, you can interact with peers who understand what you're going through because they've been through it before too. You'll have the chance to hear their stories and how addiction has transformed their lives. Everyone's story is different, and everyone's challenges as a result of addiction are unique.
Struggling with substance misuse can be a very lonely experience. Many feel that nobody understands what they're going through and as if life is out to get them. They may feel judged by others which can, in turn, lead to anger and resentment. But through attending support group meetings, they will be met with nothing but understanding and care.
At these meetings, they will find that they are not alone. These people can relate to them. Hearing what others have been through can cause an individual to realize that they are not the first to experience this kind of pain and that there is hope for the future.
How Can Family Therapy Help Me Develop Empathy in Recovery?
Substance misuse can cause a lot of anger, frustration, and resentment between family members. This can occur even after one has sought treatment and made amends. Some family members may be hesitant to hear their loved one because they feel that they won't be heard or that their loved one is just going to make excuses for their actions. They may also fear that their feelings won't be respected or validated.
This is why family therapy is such a valuable tool for repairing relationships in recovery. Family therapy allows for a safe space to have an open discussion in the presence of a counselor. Everyone can get a chance to share how they feel in an organized, productive fashion. They can express how their loved one's substance misuse affected them personally and what they think will need to happen for them to begin to heal, forgive, and move forward.
It's essential that the individual hear from their loved ones directly and gets to see their perspective. They will likely find that they hurt them in ways they never realized before. Once they have a better sense of what their loved ones think and feel, they will have a greater sense of compassion for them. They will also better understand what they need to do to make amends and help their loved one to feel as if they begin to trust them again.
What Are Some of the Main Benefits of Empathy?
Empathy is more than just a mere emotion; it is an outlook with which to view life. Striving for a greater sense of empathy can help one not only become a better, more understanding person but it can strengthen the bonds they have with others. Some additional benefits of developing empathy include:
- Learning to truly listen to others and seek to understand what they're trying to say
- Letting go of selfish habits and learning to put others first
- Improving one's communication skills
- Increasing one's level of patience
- Learning to avoid repeating negative behavior
- Learning how one's words and actions can affect others
How Can Giving Back Help Promote Empathy?
Many people think that they have struggles, that is, until they see someone who has a worse situation than them. If you are working on building up a greater sense of empathy, consider giving back to the community. Giving back is a massive aspect of the recovery journey because it helps create a sense of meaning and fulfillment and can also change one's perspective. It can help someone to see that while they may have problems in life, things aren't as bad as they seem.
Giving back helps one be grateful for the simple things that many don't have. This could be as simple as food and shelter. This, in turn, promotes empathy.
Empathy is the ability to put yourself into someone else shoes, see things from their perspective, and feel compassion for them. When someone struggles with substance misuse, their emotions can become stunted. They might not realize how their actions are hurting those that they care about the most. Even after seeking treatment, it can be hard for some to feel compassion for those that their addiction has affected. Family therapy can be a useful tool, as it allows everyone a chance to speak and share where they are coming from. Giving back is also a great way to promote empathy. If you're struggling with substance misuse, our team at The Ho Tai Wai can help. Call (714) 581-3974 today.