When you hear the word “empathy”, you usually connect it to something negative. The same with “sympathy”. Over the past 5 years I’ve experienced something weird but wonderful… POSITIVE EMPATHY!
Being a special needs parent has it’s ups and downs – just like being a ‘normal’ parent. A lot of our “up” moments are when our children do something unexpected – something they “were not supposed to do (medically spoken)”, when they reach a milestone you thought were unreachable. I never ever thought that I could feel just as excited about someone else’s child’s achievements, but I do. I catch myself covered in goosebumps or happy tears when I read about or see other disabled children doing something new or “impossible”. It’s an amazing feeling of positive empathy which I cannot describe.
Earlier this week I read an invite to a very special second birthday party. Even when he turned 1 it was a miracle… he wasn’t ‘supposed’ to get even close to 1. Little Matthew is such a miracle and he (and his parents) have accomplished so much during the past two years. When I read it my chest almost burst of positive empathy – I can imagine how his parents must feel!
In life we sometimes let jealousy step in the way of us being happy for or with someone else. And it steals our joy!
So instead of only having empathy in bad situations, let’s try to have some positive empathy next time someone else has a good thing coming their way!
(I know there’s probably no such word as positive empathy, but heck, why not! …maybe we must call it pempathy ha ha)