What does it mean to step into another person’s shoes and to try and see things from their point of view? How can we make that person who is keeping you from accomplishing your goals into a human again? How can we develop a stronger sense of empathy?
There is one person in my life who I am constantly working to see things from their point of view. I have to. They won’t be going away anytime soon and it is important to me that I live the most full and loving life I can. So, I often have to put on my big girl pants, breath, close my eyes and stop. Yes, stop. The ability to stop spinning off into storyland, blame land and negative land can be a challenge. We kind of thrive on the negative stuff in this culture and we allow the negativity to grow into a large ugly pile of poo. So, I am here to offer tips on how to become more empathetic in your life and how to not let those that get under our skin bother us quite as much. After all, we are all human and we all deserve to be treated with loving kindness:
One). Listen more. Listen better. People love to be heard. If someone opens up to you and makes themselves vulnerable, offer something back. This is where we start to develop trust which is the core of it all.
Two). Validate. Ask that person what they would do -OR- say yes, to that person’s idea. Make them feel valued.
Three). Be curious and try talking to people outside of your comfort zone. The more we open ourselves up, the more empathetic we become.
Four). Get yourself in check. Did you wake up on the wrong side of the bed this morning? Make sure you are in the right head space before talking with someone you often have difficulty relating to.
Five). Challenge prejudices and find commonalities. There is an exercise I like to play with teams where I have folks pair up, and in 3 minutes they have to find 3 commonalities that are below the surface and not obvious. It is a beautiful and quick way to see how we might not be so different.
Lastly, be brave my friends. Every day is a gift and we all deserve happiness.