We are living through some very difficult times right now, and at times like this, a little bit of empathy for one another can go a very long way.
So, what is empathy? Empathy is the act of putting yourself in someone else’s shoes emotionally and understanding, to the best of your ability, how a given situation might make another person feel.
We can never truly understand every last nuance of how those around us feel anymore than they can understand completely how we feel, but we can make the effort. That effort can make all the difference.
Just now, a lot of people are scared. Fear can manifest itself in many ways, none of them particularly logical. Those around you may be saying or doing things that just don’t make much sense to you. It’s all too easy to get frustrated.
But that’s not going to make things better. Compassion, however, can.
So, this week, I’d like to challenge all of you to give this a try: put yourself into the proverbial shoes of someone else. Not someone who agrees with you in all things. It doesn’t need to be someone diametrically opposed to you, either. After all, I’m not expecting or asking all of us to become saints. But just pick one person. Try to think of why they might be doing or saying something. Try to think of times you acted irrationally. Try to understand where they are coming from.
You don’t have to agree with them. In fact, changing your mind to mirror theirs isn’t any better than outright dismissing them. But if you can understand, even a little bit, why they’re acting in a given way, it gets a lot easier to meet them with kindness and compassion.
And right now, we need a little more of that.