The other day I had a young child say to me, “When I do something that upsets someone else, I have so many emotions all at once: embarrassment, frustration, sadness, shame and worry.”
“That’s empathy and self-awareness at its core,” I said. “You are connected to what you feel, but you are also attuned to what everyone else might be feeling and thinking as a result of your behavior. It takes time to sort out those feelings; don’t be alarmed by them, be informed by them.”
Ultimately, feelings teach us something about the situations we face in life. Embarrassment informs us that we have just acted outside the realm of how we would like to see ourselves; worry means that we care that we have upset someone we care about. These are helpful to our choices to live the life God intended for us to live.
Use your emotions and your empathy to decipher how to respond. It takes time to understand and make sense of it all. Don’t respond right away, sometimes, the best responses are the ones we wait on.
“For whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything.” (1 John 3:20)