Questions Promote Empathy

We live in a world with billions of individuals. Each individual having their own perception of how others should behave and not behave. The odds are pretty good that we’re going to conflict with one another’s viewpoints every so often, or maybe more often. Negatively judging someone can feel terrible inside and leave you feeling upset, distracted, irritated and ultimately effecting how you show up in the world. So how can you function in this world and not get tossed to and fro in the pinball machine of life? Author, Jean Houston answers this. She says, “Expand your inner capacity for radical empathy.” Empathy, such a kind word. Defined as, “the action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to the feelings, thoughts, and experiences of another.” It was once assumed that you were born with empathy and while yes, I absolutely believe we came to earth with divine virtues and traits, we have to do the refining, strengthening, and learning of these virtues through our experiences on earth. Empathy can be learned and expanded as Jean says. I like Dr. Richards definition of empathy. It’s a little more tangible and relatable to me (or just easier to remember). Dr. Richards is a sociologist and professor of the largest race relations course in the United States. He said: “My students often ask me, ‘what is sociology?’ And I tell them it’s the study of the way in which human beings are shaped by things that they don’t see. And they say, ‘So, how can I be a sociologist? How can I understand those invisible forces?’ And I say, Empathy. Start with empathy. It all begins with empathy. Take yourself out of your shoes and put yourself into the shoes of another person.” So often with my clients they come to … Continue reading Questions Promote Empathy