Typical moment in the car: a little girl starts crying because something disturbs her, it hurts. We turn around to see what is going on…Her eldest brother starts telling her in a tender way “it is okay”. She starts crying even more. I turn around and start caressing her leg, telling her it is going to end up soon and that we are about to arrive. But suddenly her brother starts shouting “no, it is okay, don’t worry about it, I told you!”….the father turns around too and tells him in a vivid way “come on, you can’t say that to someone who is in pain!”…the little boy gets pissed off, bursts into tears and starts shouting again that everything is okay…
Clearly, a crisis moment in the car…and here comes the aha moment…clearly we draw the conclusion that our little boy is suffering for his sister, that he wants her not to get hurt and that the only thing that matters to him is for her to stop crying. I try in a desperate intent to calm down everyone and turn towards him very softly :”of course he says so because he does not want her to be in pain, isn’t it my dear?”
Suddenly peace comes back on board..as if something magical just occurred..
This magic is called empathy and in this case, has been used in a car to solve a domestic crisis. And I believe that empathy is so fashionable those days because maybe more than ever, there is a tremendous need of it in our society.
That is the reason why I decided to make a list of all the things you should continue to do if you never want to empathic.
- Tell a child or an adult “don’t worry about it” when he/she falls or he/she is worried about something because “yes he/she can worry
- Not respecting someone’s point of view or not being compassionate
- Keep on not asking how someone is feeling when knowing he or she is having a hard time
- Only focus and talk about yourself, yourself and yourself
- Justify or defend yourself when the other person is feeling bad for something you did
- Laugh at the feelings of others or simply not taking them into account
- Assume things rather than ask for it: for example, telling someone everything will be fine when really we have no idea
- Not trying to understand his/her opinion, only focusing on things we disagree or ignoring his/her position.
- Not putting words on his/her feelings or needs
- Being impatient and not paying attention
Empathy is the way to freedom: getting rid and free of negative emotions or at least free of handling them. But really it is about being free of communicating without misunderstandings and showing respect to others.
Empathy is not about agreeing, it is about putting myself in the shoes of the other especially when we disagree. What about you? Do you empathize?