Wednesday, November 1, 2017

With Empathy and Without Judgment

Written By Don Shetterly
I see this happen all the time.  I saw it way back, on one of the earliest little forums for people helping others.  We tried to learn how to own up to our own insecurities and be empathetic with others.  We tried not to respond with judgment, even that which was inadvertent.

Yet, I still see the same thing practiced today that I saw back then.  Everyone wants to preach at another person and tell them what they should do.  Rather than telling themselves, they make sure everyone hears what they are doing wrong.

Often times, I think we are really telling ourselves what we should do, while we make our response out to be for someone else.  It is a subtle distinction but very powerful and very preachy.

I'm sure I probably fail in this at times on this blog.  I try hard, but sometimes, it just happens.

However, I do find that if I share some of my own struggles and become vulnerable with others, it means so much more to them than if I started telling them what to do.  Saying that you should do this or you should do that does not connect as much as if I share my own struggle and how I got through it.

We resonate deeply with others when we know someone has walked through the fire.  When it is hard to determine that, we're not as inclined to hear.  When we feel the slightest ego or judgment, it is then that we say, "I'll figure this out on my own," and we tune others out.

There are far too many in this world, and especially online, who are quick to judge and tell you what they think you should be doing.  It is an epidemic, and with social media, it happens in an instant.  Everyone has an opinion, but these days, it is turned into belief and fact, without consideration that not everyone sees things the way they do.  It is okay if we all see things differently because together it makes us stronger.

Healing and helping are about putting your arm of compassion around someone and saying, "I'm here for you."  It is about checking your own issues, cloaked in judgment, at the door because they help no one.  If you respond through your own wounded self and ego, it is not a healthy connection.
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Yes, I know we are all human, and we're all learning.  We are probably never going to get this right 100% of the time, but I believe we need to put a much greater effort toward it.  If we want to be human, we need to focus on where our responses to others originate.

So, let's try something.  Just for today.  When you talk or write back to people, whether it is in person or online, how are you genuinely coming across?  Are you connecting with an arm of compassion and love, or is your ego making sure that your opinions and beliefs are being forced upon others?

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