Discord. Disruption. Disconnection. Our society is suffering. We’re angry. We’re frustrated. We’re ready to fight. We can continue to feel separate from each other. We can decide to pick sides. We can make things worse. OR we can choose to recognize the humanity in each one of us. Regardless of our gender or political view. Regardless of our economic status. Regardless of our religious beliefs or culture. We can choose to have empathy for our fellow travelers on this journey.
It’s time to enhance some of our communication abilities…to be more empathetic….to listen to each other with an open heart and an open mind. When we communicate with empathy we create more positivity in relationships. If we all focused more on listening and understanding, our world would be a lot less stressful.
Begin with yourself. Slow down. Breathe. Practice self-compassion. Be aware if you are feeling that your “buttons” are being pushed. Notice if you are picking up on someone else’s tension or negativity. When you are present and aware, you are able to tune in to those around you without reacting. Mindfulness helps you to keep your emotions in balance while you navigate through your ever-changing environment.
Stay in the moment. When listening to others, avoid judgment based on past actions. Recognize that we are all growing and changing and give others the benefit of the doubt. Listen to what they are saying and doing now. Be present.
Pay attention to a person’s body language and the feeling behind the words. Notice if their words match their demeanor. Are they being truthful? Are they anxious? If they appear to be tense and out of sorts, simply ask, “Is there something I can do to help?” Check on the accuracy of your interpretation. Express empathy by noting that they appear to be exhausted or tense or sad. Ask, “Is something bothering you?”
If you are uncomfortable with asking specifics, you could ask open-ended questions to show your interest. “How was your day?” leaves a space for sharing. “Why are you late?” does not. Reflect, then repeat or rephrase what someone has said. It allows another opportunity for you to understand the other person’s emotional condition and to express empathy. The other person experiences being heard and being valued. Listening builds trust and respect.
Your past conditioning and beliefs can create biases. You have been programmed since birth. Your truth is based on your beliefs. You may jump to a conclusion based on a similar circumstance. When you stay in the now moment, you are able to truly listen to another person. Your perceptions are more accurate. You are able to respond to what is actually happening rather than to thoughts and ideas from the past. You can let go of emotional triggers and rewire your neural pathways. You can be better. You can be wiser. You can be more loving.
We are all weary. It’s time to “try a little tenderness”. Remember when. Imagine if. We are all one.
#empathy #belief #compassion