How to Cope With a Lack of Empathy From Others
Before I jump into an article that discusses how one can cope without empathy, I want to define the term. So, what is empathy?
Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another. In other words, you observe another person experiencing a significant event and try to put yourself in their shoes. You're supposed to contemplate the emotions and thoughts running through their minds; only then can you truly connect with another human being and understand what they are going through at that moment.
A more important question is why is empathy lacking today? Why do people lack empathy and understanding towards chronic diseases such as osteoarthritis (OA)?
I don't have an exact answer for these questions, but there are a couple of factors I attribute to perpetuating this phenomenon. First is the "rat race" factor: in this day and age of hectic work schedules, endless deadlines and increasing responsibilities, it seems difficult to fit in an extra activity that takes time and effort.
Another pervasive trend is what I call the "selfie effect:" people are so busy focusing on displaying the perfect image of themselves on social media that they simply don't care to entertain another human's perspective. In other words, our society is progressing towards narcissism fueled by social media and other social outlets.
Another valid question is why is empathy so important? It doesn't increase your salary, doesn't help you lose weight, and doesn't add more followers to your Instagram account. That being said, it does help you become better and a more caring human being.
We all need empathy to help us connect and make us more willing to help each other when we are struggling. It could also help improve most of the meaningful relationships you have in your life!
When you have OA, you get used to a lack of empathy from others. But how do we keep it from bringing us down?
Try to Keep a Positive Mindset
You can’t always control your physical condition or the amount of empathy in your environment, but you can have control over how you react to them. Keeping a positive mindset can have a drastic impact on the quality of your daily life.
In order to overcome the negative thoughts and pessimism that can come with a lack of understanding, we have to embrace the philosophy of looking at the glass as half full. Part of this strategy involves avoiding negative influences that remind you of the pain and how it has limited your life.
It helps sometimes to maintain perspective that there are others out there suffering equally or worse than you currently are, and there are still many blessings in your life to be thankful for.