Thinking about empathy
I read this the other morning, while enjoying a cup of coffee. It sparked a conversation over breakfast with my kids. I think seeing what is going on in the U.S. right now is confusing for all of us, because we think we know what we believe but ... right now, everything is being called into question. Is it enough that I consider others often? Is it enough that I don't judge people based on color? Is it enough that I support businesses owned by people from all over the globe? Is it ever going to be enough? I think we won't know the answer to that until we see our children making better choices: better choices for our people, better choices for themselves, and better choices for the environment.
Let’s talk about empathy. Empathy, as you probably know, is the practice of actively trying to see a situation from someone else’s perspective. Putting yourself in someone else shoes, let’s say. It’s a favorite topic at many a boring business development seminar, because empathy can lead to a lot of great things. It can help a diverse group of people work together, solve problems, forge meaningful relationships, feel safe and respected, and generally get along.
But empathy is hard. It’s extremely humbling to face the fact that your view isn’t the only one that matters. It’s difficult to learn your perception doesn’t always jive with someone else’s lived reality. It’s uncomfortable to realize that, in someone else’s shoes, the walk through life becomes a different journey entirely. When a situation requires empathy, we as good friends and citizens are called to slip off our own shoes, and walk beside someone else for a while. The terrain may feel unfamiliar, challenging and downright scary under our feet. But it’s our job to make sure no one walks through this life alone.
~ CNN Good Stuff newsletter which is an awesome way to get a weekly reminder that there are a lot of amazing and kind people in the world (and always ends on a cute animal video which, I admit, I love love love).