We watched Sleepless in Seattle last night for the umpteenth time. I know what happens. There are no surprises. But I still gasped out loud at the end when they come out of the lift and I then proceeded to blub for a good five minutes afterwards.
These are fictional characters for goodness sake. I knew what the ending was going to be. But I still got hooked. The story still tugged at my heart strings. Literally. You can see where that phrase came from. The feeling is as much physical as mental. Emotions are. They are physical reactions that we are not in control of and aren’t driven by conscious thought.
There is something about seeing other people in emotional situations that, for me at least, is frequently more powerful than my own emotions. When my Mum was dying recently for instance I was more triggered by seeing other people upset than I was by my own situation.
I guess this is down to what they call the empathy gene, something in us that feels compassion for others around us. It is a powerful force and one to be celebrated and encouraged rather than hidden in embarrassment.