I've been lately working on this cognitive empathy thing I was going to try out (where I want to be able to intellectually understand and accept anyone's point of view). Because I personally have a tendency to judge other people's points of view through my own point of view - that is, I compare other people's views to my own worldview to determine whether or not their ideas or actions are reasonable/logical. It's been going interestingly.

I tried it while talking to my old friend when I saw her on Thursday. She was talking about some ways people have mistreated her lately - and not in a complaining way, either, just in a "this is what I've been up to, and I'm talking about it because these were things that happened"

And she explained the other people's points of view and on one hand, I could totally understand hers, but on the other hand, I tried understanding theirs without condemning them right off and I found myself sort of understanding their justifications for what they did. Like I didn't excuse it but I did understand why a person would think that way and I could (for the moments I was taking on their point of view) accept them as reasonable.

I would have felt like a traitor to my friend were it not for the fact that I was totally aware of the fact that I did not ACTUALLY think the other people's actions were RIGHT, just that they made sense for a certain point of view and I was capable of assuming that point of view. I'm sure if I were a little more emotionally-inclined, I would have felt like an actual traitor.

Last night, while my family and I were in the car at a gas station (my dad was getting gas), I was watching a guy as he was opening the door to the gas station building itself. There was a little doorstop thing on the door, and he was trying to get it to work. I felt that sort of "oh no a thing isn't working I hope it works and I hope the person isn't inconvenienced wait why aren't I helping out" sort of thing I feel when I see things not going right the first time (it's an instinct I've developed for reasons). He got it to work by opening up the door wide enough and I realized that I had, for a moment, invested myself in this stranger's life for a moment and processed it as though it were my own life. It wasn't intentional (I don't think) and it just sort of...happened.

I literally only tried this because I thought it would be interesting and because it was similar to something one of my favorite fictional characters can do and I'm often inspired to try skills because fictional people I like have them. And...well, I want to see where this goes, really. This interests me.
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January 2015

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