2019: The Year of Empathy

Prediction: Heart Power Ascent ... Ego Power Decline

In the new year it is common to see or hear predictions with stocks, global shifts and technology. These topics are somewhat measured by numbers, trends, global conditions - and always include a percentage of "unknowns."

What does the new year holds for us spiritually? We could employ some complicated formula and assess data. Instead, let us step into humanity - with our hearts leading - and ask a few probing questions.

While reflecting on what the Spiritual World has in store for the Physical World in New Year 2019, I received this glorious message:

Calling all hearts! It is time to maximize our energy and invest in love. It is time to join together as one people to heal the earth and heal each other. It is time we collectively unite to relegate ego to its rightful place - and allow love to fully shine. All Hail 2019 - Blessed Be The Year of Empathy!
— Guided Message

There is great hope and excitement in this beautiful prediction. Yet we may find its attainment daunting and confusing. What is empathy anyway?

"When we come together, we aren't just stronger. We're also able to share our compassion, our time, our wisdom, our love." -Oprah Winfrey

"When we come together, we aren't just stronger. We're also able to share our compassion, our time, our wisdom, our love." -Oprah Winfrey

World renowned psychologist Paul Ekman has dedicated his career to the study of how people feel and respond to the emotions of others. Ekman teaches that empathy includes three primary expressions. Take for example when we witness pain in another. (Click here for ways to be more loving?)

Cognitive Empathy

Some of us mentally connect with how the pained person feels and thinks in that moment. This first empathy expression is called Cognitive Empathy or Perspective-Taking. We take on the role of a witness who is able to relate to the scenario/person from a detached place. This kind of expression can be essential when we have a full plate or work in the helping professions such as a nurse or therapist.

Emotional Empathy

The second empathy expression, Emotional Empathy, means we experience a physical sensation that echoes or mirrors the same sensations as the person in pain. We gain access to the inner emotional state of another and immerse ourselves in their struggles.

Although Emotional Empathy seems to be a natural and powerful way to help people heal, a fine line exists between Emotional Empathy and burnout. We must remember to find space between ourselves and the stories of others. Once we carry the emotional weight of others and neglect to care for our own issues, we become exhausted and distressed.

Compassionate Empathy

As humanity digitally plugs in to every disaster and crisis in real time, we realize we cannot possibly assist the victims at the same time. As a result we experience a constant flood of emotions without an effective outlet. A part of our heart wants to relieve the suffering, but another part freezes up. We are immobilized in our heart space, and so our ability to express empathy or explicitly support them is compromised.

In this state of helplessness we are unable to make contact with the third empathy expression called Compassionate Empathy. In an article on empathy, Ekman states Compassionate Empathy is “a skill, the acquired knowledge ‘that we’re all connected.’”

How can we reset our empathy button as a global society?

We first need to admit our egos do not do a very good job of leading us in the right direction. The ego’s sole mission is to limit our abilities to thrive, and to destabilize our spiritual efforts with torture. Pain, suffering and misery - whether personal or shared - represent an ego stuck in an experience with no permanent solution.

The world is in a constant state of flux and chaos because we have given the ego free rein to dictate our lives. Somehow we are convinced - (or could it be conned?) - it is easier to exist from the place of ego than love.

Secondly, we need to reclaim our commitment to love through a concerted and heart-driven empathy practice. Love must win. Love must be our path. Love must be our way. Here are my Ten Commandments of Empathy. If we dedicate ourselves to follow even just one commandment in 2019, we change our inner landscape, our realities and each other.

10 Commandments of Empathy

“I believe in my ability to be empathic. I believe we are all connected. I believe the world can change with love. I ask my heart and the hearts of my fellow beings to:

Mend broken and wounded hearts.

Join together to spread gifts of caring, sharing and presence.

Focus on peace, love and joy.

Rewrite history with uplifting stories.

Awaken to hope, dreams and possibilities.

Begin again and move forward with love.

Beat with passion and compassion.

Inspire complete forgiveness, live in truth and show up in bright and authentic ways.

Dispel fear and darkness by amplifying the power of openness and light.

Find comfort in curiosity, play and being in the company of the Divine. And so it is.”

I invite you to join the ascent of heart power. Together let us bring love to the front and center of our days. Together let us radiate a love so big and so bright that we blow past doubt, shadows and adversity.