Empathy isn’t just something that happens to us—a meteor shower of synapses firing across the brain—it’s also a choice we make: to pay attention, to extend ourselves. It’s made of exertion, that dowdier cousin of impulse. Sometimes we care for another because we know we should, or because it’s asked for, but this doesn’t make our caring hollow. The act of choosing simply means we’ve committed ourselves to a set of behaviors greater than the sum of our individual inclinations: I will listen to his sadness, even when I’m deep in my own. To say ‘going through the motions’—this isn’t reduction so much as acknowledgment of the effort—the labor, the motions, the dance—of getting inside another person’s state of heart or mind.
This confession of effort chafes against the notion that empathy should always arise unbidden, that genuine means the same thing as unwilled, that intentionality is the enemy of love. But I believe in intention and I believe in work. I believe in waking up in the middle of the night and packing our bags and leaving our worst selves for our better ones.
— Leslie Jamison, “The Empathy Exams” (via The Believer)
(Source: greatunknowns, via ahuntersheart)
1:52 pm • 5 March 2014 • 446 notes
yuna // come as you are (nirvana cover)
I love when you hear a song and you wonder how you even made it this far in life without it.
11:34 pm • 2 March 2014 • 5,616 notes
“Can you remember who you were, before the world told you who you should be?”
— Danielle LaPorte (via rivaiomine)
(Source: thingsthatsing, via womenreadaboutthemselvesincolor)
11:34 pm • 2 March 2014 • 229,092 notes
I should just tattoo the words ASK FOR HELP on the inside of one arm and FORGIVE YOURSELF on the inside of the other, because some days it really is that simple.
4:14 pm • 26 February 2014 • 11 notes
“It’s not that people can’t love you if you don’t love yourself. It’s that you won’t feel it because it’ll always seem like you don’t deserve it.”
— But It’s Not a Matter of Deserving (#53: January 11, 2014)
(Source: write2014, via wheredoesthegoodgo)
6:29 pm • 25 February 2014 • 41,155 notes
“A little attention to detail helps with a more realistic evaluation of the social world.
Yet too much attention to detail can interfere with basic day-to-day functioning, as evidenced by research from Queen’s University psychologist Kate Harkness, who found that people in a depressed mood were more likely to notice minute changes in facial expressions. Meanwhile, happy people tend to overlook such second-to-second alterations—a flash of annoyance, a sarcastic grin. You probably recognize this phenomenon from interactions you’ve had with your partner. While in a bad mood we tend to notice the tiniest shifts and often can’t seem to disengage from a fight (“I saw you roll your eyes at me! Why did you do that!?!”), whereas when we’re in a good mood, we tend to brush off tiny sleights (“You tease me, but I know you love being around me”). The happiest people have a natural emotional protection against getting sucked in by the intense gravitational pull of little details.”
— Todd B. Kashdan and Robert Biswas-Diener, What Happy People Do Differently (via disabledbyculture)
(Source: psychologytoday.com, via disabledbyculture)
12:13 pm • 25 February 2014 • 199 notes
“Let me tell you what I do know: I am more than one thing, and not all of those things are good. The truth is complicated. It’s two-toned, multi-vocal, bittersweet. I used to think that if I dug deep enough to discover something sad and ugly, I’d know it was something true. Now I’m trying to dig deeper. I didn’t want to write these pages until there were no hard feelings, no sharp ones. I do not have that luxury. I am sad and angry and I want everyone to be alive again. I want more landmarks, less landmines. I want to be grateful but I’m having a hard time with it.”
— Richard Siken (via writingsforwinter)
12:13 pm • 25 February 2014 • 2,939 notes