A toddler bursts into tears when he doesn’t get what he wants.
In his little head, another kid has done him a grave injustice by taking away his toy. However, he doesn’t have the words to explain this to the people around him. He expects his parents to read his mind and to feel whatever he feels. When this doesn’t happen, he is devastated.
We eventually grow out of this tendency, but not entirely. When some people are denied what they feel they deserve, they sulk and grow cold. They then expect their loved ones to read their minds and interpret their needs. When this doesn’t happen, they sink further into their personal tragedy.
We don’t take the wishes of toddlers seriously. More so, when they are grown-ups. The solution is to explain what we feel in words. Putting our feelings in words helps others feel what we feel, and gives them an opportunity to understand us.
It is not easy to explain our feelings. Our feelings are vague, but appear clear. They are fleeting, but appear permanent. They are contradictions, but appear consistent. Yet, the price we pay for another’s empathy is the hard work to explain ourselves.