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empathy

This tag is associated with 3 posts

In the pause: How do we build empathy and unity

What unites us and divides us?

As women and men, as adults and children, as different races and creeds and colors, as the haves and the have-nots, as humans.

How can we cross to the other side of the chasm between us, to a new perspective, a new point of view? Is it even possible to generate real understanding? Can we walk in someone else’s shoes and leave ours behind, find and use all their filters and lenses of experience that cannot help but alter the plain truth of seeing and hearing?

I would like to believe it’s possible. I would like to believe that our imaginations can take us anywhere we truly wish to go. I am trying. I am trying.

This is the hardest, most necessary work we ever do. We have to let the rivers of reality and fantasy wash over us in equal amounts. We have to accept where we are if we are to chart the course to where we want to go.

To make the climb. To take the journey. To walk and walk and walk until finally, mercifully, we sink down to the ground of compassion and empathy, letting it cradle and support us, until we find the strength to rise and say, “Now, I understand.”

In the pause: Managing through anxiety

This week has been an anxious one for me thanks to a threatening neighbor in my new apartment building. My dog was barking at some disturbance outside, the neighbor flipped his lid, and left me a threatening voicemail. Twice. Not feeling safe in my home is a trigger for me, and this threatening message sent me into a difficult spiral of emotions.

I tell you this not for sympathy (I am immensely fortunate to have friends who have helped me through the last few days in countless, valuable ways) but to offer empathy for those who also battle this struggle. For too long, I didn’t ask for help. As a matter of fact, I silently chastised myself for struggling at all. With anything. Ever. I *should* be stronger than this. I *should* have everything under control at all times in all circumstances. I cannot break down. Ever. At least not in front of people.

What I’ve learned is that asking for help, advice, and support is the bravest, strongest thing in the world. Let people in. Share and listen. That’s what’s going to make things better.

 

In the pause: Don’t stumble over something behind you

“Don’t stumble over something behind you.” ~Seneca

Whenever I’m faced with something disappointing, I feel is deeply and and immediately. I strip out that phase of denial and move right into grief. While grief is a painful, my willingness to feel every ounce of it jumpstarts the healing process. Grief is a lens I use to refocus my energy and get clear about what I need and want. It’s not fun, but it’s necessary. The great benefit of this brutal process is that once it’s done, it’s done. I don’t look back; I let it go and move forward. I have many times in my life that I’m glad I’ll never repeat, and I’m also grateful for all of the learnings that those times held. They have given me empathy, strength, and courage, three of the things I value most.

 

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