As human beings, our world view is shaped by our many separate lifetime experiences. What we see, and what we hear, may be very different from what another sees and hears, even when the scene viewed or the words spoken are the same. Is it any wonder that we have misunderstandings and differences of opinion, with even those closest to us?
There’s a simple secret to improving the way we interact with others, and therefore our sense of connection to them. It’s called empathy! Learning to understand a reality from another person’s viewpoint can work wonders in helping us to feel closer. There’s a wonderful quote I came across the other day that is full of wisdom:
“Could a greater miracle take place than for us to look through each others’ eyes for an instant?” by Henry David Thoreau
If you think about it, it makes so much sense. If we can, for just a moment, put aside our preconceived notions and beliefs about the way things should be, and honestly look at something with another’s eyes, what would we see? Instead of judgment and black or white thinking, we might have a whole new understanding and acceptance of another view. We would have an opportunity to grow and become more than we were with just our own restricted view. We judge and fear what we don’t understand!
Wouldn’t the world be a wonderful place without so much bitterness and anger? Whether it’s in our own family, with the people at work, among friends, or with complete strangers, the ability to see the world through their eyes can strengthen our sense of connection and bring a renewed peace and understanding to all. It doesn’t seem like this should be a secret, but maybe it is! What do you think?
Until next time,
Linda, your empathy message is a good one. Sometimes in a situation I’m not understanding, I make myself stop and imagine I am the person I’m not understanding. Just the stillness and desire to be the other person seems to help me get what they are telegraphing, since the words aren’t doing it.
I once got that a client was feeling stupid while doing a financial transaction when I did this exercise.
I looked at her cute self and said, “This is the stupid complicated worldly stuff, but you are so smart for choosing those great earrings. That’s the important thing here.” The difficult communication we were in just evaporated.
I had been wondering if she didn’t like me and just having a hard time right before then.
Empathy did it. Thanks for your post.
Thank you, Calla, for letting us know how empathy helped you to connect with your client. It is such an important key in removing the separation between two people. I’m glad you enjoyed the post.
Take good care,