“To be with another in this way means that for the time being you lay aside the views and values you hold for yourself in order to enter another’s world without prejudice. In some sense it means that you lay aside your self and this can only be done by a person who is secure enough in himself that he knows he will not get lost in what may turn out to be the strange or bizarre world of the other, and can comfortably return to his own world when he wishes.
Perhaps this description makes clear that being empathic is a complex, demanding, strong yet subtle and gentle way of being.”
Carl R. Rogers
This lovely quotation is from a 1975 essay: ‘Empathic: An Unappreciated Way of Being’, which he wrote at La Jolla.
Here’s a link to the whole thing – well worth a read: http://www.elementsuk.com/libraryofarticles/empathic.pdf
Palace Gate Counselling Service, Exeter