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Steve_A's avatar

Will I forever see my life as only I do?

Asked by Steve_A (5125points) June 5th, 2010 from iPhone

There is that saying that goes something like “Put yourself in their shoes.”

What I am asking is regardless of how I try to relate or understand something….It will always be from 1 point of view.Myself.Do you belive this is true?

It somewhat bothers me knowing no matter what you can never truly know or feel what another person has.Can you, is it possible?

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11 Answers

lillycoyote's avatar

I suppose you can never really “know” but you can try to develop and nurture empathy and that is a very good thing. You will have your own experiences but they can sometimes, if you let them, offer you real and valuable insight into the experiences of others.

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

Your point of view is composed of your reactions to the stimuli you encounter, and these reactions are formed from your previous experiences. If you were truly experience what it is like to be someone else, you would have to forget everything you know, learn everything they know, and react to what they know in the same way they do.

Of course this is impossible, but you can empathise with them by drawing parallels between their situation and things that make you react in the same way that you observe them reacting.

You won’t always see the world from your point of view though, because you won’t always be you. People change with time, and with that change comes a new self that is constructed against a different set of experiences and attitudes. I am no longer the child that was shy around strangers, or the adolescent that struggled to adjust to a new school. I am not the person who dated my ex-girlfriend either. I am the product of the experiences that are foremost in my mind, most of which occurred over the last two years. Anything before that was a different self who once inhabited my body.

perspicacious's avatar

No, you cannot feel exactly what another feels. Don’t let it get you down. No one knows exactly what you feel either. We have experiences that are similar enough to support each other.

partyparty's avatar

No I don’t suppose you can ever know exactly how another person is feeling, BUT you can try to understand and react accordingly, to how they are feeling, and what they are saying.
Equally they will be feeling the same. They don’t know how you are feeling.

rebbel's avatar

The burden would be too great if we could really feel what others are feeling, i’ld think.
Imagine an ordinary day on which you hear some random ‘bad experience’ stories from colleagues, family, friends and/or strangers.
Someone telling you her niece was sexually abused, an other how he has to sell his house due to economic crises, an other who just broke up a life long relationship…..
You would probably consider ending your life after two or three of those days of feeling other persons feelings as if they were your own.

marinelife's avatar

No, it is not possible. But you can imagine what another person is experiencing. Using a combination of your imagination and some similar life experiences, you can come close.

Cruiser's avatar

If dogs can do it why can’t humans? Dogs always seem to know what is up with you!

I believe was are fully capable to feel, sense and know what other people feel. I just think people in general are busy enough trying to sort out there own baggage to not want or be open to others goings on.

I know I can “connect” with someone and know pretty well what they are feeling even thinking. It is hard to explain and took me years to realize this ability and requires laying down any barriers between you and that person. It is quite humbling to experience.

But for the most what you think about you is all that really matters in the grand scheme. Sure what an SO or family member thinks is also important but as for what others think I could care less. It is my life and what I think of me is most important to me and I am very OK with that.

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

Everyone is different in this area. I was only able to truly empathize with one person. I try to do the right thing by others, but their thoughts and motives are a mystery to me. Just follow the Golden Rule and you can’t go too far wrong.

Silhouette's avatar

I believe exactly what @Cruiser believes “If dogs can do it why can’t humans? Dogs always seem to know what is up with you!”

“I believe was are fully capable to feel, sense and know what other people feel.”

It can be done and it for many it’s instinctual.

Coloma's avatar

Yes, all we can do is be as empathetic as possible, but unless we have an experience we are clueless to anothers feelings, and, their feelings/reactions may not be the same as ours or anothers.

Obviously there are many commonalities in life experience, such as losing a loved one to death, divorcing, raising kids, etc. that’s is why we tend to bond with others that have shared some of our experiences.

The human condition has far more similarities than not, it’s just a matter of individual perceptions, levels of growth and development in how things are handled/assimilated and expressed.

We are all one collective soul in many ways, and embracing this is the best we can do.

Love is love, pain is pain and joy is joy regardless of how it is manifested and expressed.

ninjacolin's avatar

” appears that empathy has a neurological basis. The same brain regions that process our first-hand experiences of pain are also activated when we observe other people in pain.”Link

I just pulled the first article I could find, this isn’t the best one.

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