Enjoying Someone Else’s Pain


Marshall Rosenberg says, “Empathy gives you the ability to enjoy another person’s pain”. That just doesn’t sound right, does it? Who would want to enjoy another person’s pain? This however gets to the heart of empathic communication. The goal of empathic communication is connection, with ourselves and with others. That connection is connection with the Divine. And the feeling itself is divine!

Dr. Rosenberg talks about empathic communication being a magic show, and it is. When we are present with someone who is in pain, we focus on what they are feeling and needing. In that space our feeling is probably curiosity and longing. We want to understand what is going on for the other person, and longing to support them, be present with them.

When we figure that out with them, when we understand what is going on for them, we actually have our needs met. The same when we help them connect to themselves with what they are feeling and needing. We again have our own needs met helping them. We experience many things when this happens and they are feelings related to met needs such as compassion, appreciation and even joy!

The person we are supporting will also have some needs met. They will experience understanding, support, caring and many other possible feelings related to met needs. They may still have the pain they started with, but it will be diminished. Healing takes place when someone is totally present with you in painful experiences. With empathic communication you have the ability to be totally present. You aren’t trying to fix, or give advice, but understand at the level of feelings and needs. That gives you the ability to be fully present with each other and the Divine.

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