Is it empathy or projection? Ten ways to know.

Can you read the emotions of others, or are you simply projecting your own emotions? The answer to this question isn’t simple, but there are ways tell the difference, and ways to develop your empathic abilities and accuracy so that you’re not simply projecting your own emotional state at others. Ten possibilities to explore Sometimes, people will tell you that an emotion you sensed isn’t there, … Read More

Quiz: How to Know If You’re an Empath

Hello! After studying empathy and emotions for four decades, I’ve developed a very simple and accurate way to tell if you’re an empath. Are you ready to find out? Karla McLaren’s Amazingly Accurate Quiz for Empaths Question 1: Are you breathing? Yes/No (choose one) Yes? You’re an empath. No? Take a breath and start over at Question 1. (spoiler alert) Congratulations! You’re an empath! That’s a … Read More

Is it empathy or projection?

Ten Ways to Identify the Difference I’m teaching the 3rd cohort of the Dynamic Emotional Integration® series this year, and one of the students had an excellent question about whether we can, in fact, be accurate about other people’s emotions. Are we able to accurately read the emotions of others, or are we simply projecting based on our own understanding? Some people make empathic accuracy difficult, … Read More

Emotion work revisited!

I’ve had the opportunity to bring my work into the corporate world recently, and I’m having such a wonderful time! In Emotional Dynamics at Work®, we’re working on emotions, empathy, and the crucial concept of emotion work, and I want to share it with you. Understanding emotion work In her groundbreaking book, The Managed Heart: Commercialization of Human Feeling, sociologist Arlie Hochschild (pronounced hoke-shilled) described what … Read More

The difference between healthy empathy and martyrdom

Balancing empathy for others with empathy for yourself When I talk about empathy, I tend to use the words healthy and intentional a great deal of the time.  If your empathy is unintentional, and you’re not sure how it works, it can be very easy to enmesh yourself with other people’s emotions and needs — to the extent that you ignore your own.  You can lose … Read More

The difference between empathy and enmeshment

Hello fellow empathic people! Did you know that there’s a distinct difference between healthy empathy and enmeshment? I’ve spent a lifetime exploring how empathy works, how it goes awry, how we can understand it more clearly, and how we can create a ground for self-care and self-empathy within our everyday lives. I’ve also been looking at an idea about empathy that goes something like this: Empathy … Read More

The Six Essential Aspects of Empathy, Part 6: Perceptive Engagement

Perceptive Engagement! Perceptive Engagement can be considered the pinnacle of your empathic skills, because it relies upon all of your first five aspects of empathy and helps you connect with others in truly supportive and workable ways. So far, we’ve looked at the first five of your Six Essential Aspects of Empathy. Today, we’ll look at the culminating aspect, which occurs when all of the aspects … Read More

The Six Essential Aspects of Empathy, Part 5: Concern for Others

Concern for Others Concern for Others is about caring enough — or having the time and energy you need to care enough — to skillfully empathize with others. So far, we’ve looked at the first four aspects of your Six Essential Aspects of Empathy. Today, we’ll look at Concern for Others, which is your capacity to care enough to show true empathy and compassion for others. … Read More

The Six Essential Aspects of Empathy, Part 4: Perspective Taking

Learning to see and feel from the perspective of others Your Perspective Taking ability helps you imaginatively see and feel things from the perspectives of others. This skill is crucial to your ability to empathize skillfully; good Perspective Taking can help you understand what others want and need. Let’s revisit the six aspects so that we can understand where Perspective Taking fits into the larger picture: … Read More

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