The Mindfulness of Empathy
Our brains are hardwired to notice negative or threatening things – and then move away from them. This reaction is wired into our ‘ancient’ brain, the amydala; it is where our ‘fight or flight’ behaviour comes from. It’s part of who we are, and undoubtedly has kept our species alive for a long time.But a downside to this, is that we find it difficult to tolerate uncomfortable situations.When we experience discomfort, especially with another person, or a group, our instinctive reaction is to lessen that discomfort. It might be by making a joke in an awkward introduction at a party; or downplaying our true feelings and not expressing what we really think; to walking away from a conflict rather than listening to the other person; to pretending that everything is ‘fine’ rather than asking for help.