11 June 2021

Others are not you!

Each one of us sees the world from his own perspective.

Others see the world in a strange way because it is different from our point of view, but there is no right or wrong.

WE ARE ALL STRANGERS TO SOMEONE ELSE.

Empathy is a respectful understanding of what others are feeling.
It means putting yourself in the other person’s shoes.

If you have tried to explain the same thing twice and no one has understood, you may not be speaking the same language as the other person. In order to communicate authentically, you need to be able to put yourself in their shoes.

Better to learn their language than to keep shouting ours without being understood, isn’t it?

Empathy can be learned, trained, improved, like all skills.

Some people are naturally inclined to help others, they relate easily, they are nice, sociable, friendly. But beware: reaching out to others does not automatically mean being empathetic. Wanting to be helpful is often a need, not always the result of true and authentic empathy.

I am me, you are you. I listen to myself, I am in touch with my emotions and feelings.
I listen to you, I put myself in your shoes, I can feel what you feel.
If I put myself in the same position as you, if I imitate your posture, I can feel something in my body that is perhaps similar to what you are feeling.

Then I come back to myself, I listen to myself. I go in and out, in and out. I put myself in your shoes only and if I am aware of how I am. That’ s empathy!

Listening to you for a while and then trying to solve your problem, trying to guess what you feel, projecting my needs onto you, that’s not empathy, OK? Getting on easily with others is definitely an asset, it can be the result of sympathy, of sensitivity.

If I am not fully in touch with myself, if I do not take full responsibility for what I feel, what I say, how I say it, it is impossible to feel empathy.
We feel something else, but not empathy.

When we are too emotionally involved, when we are too much towards the other, we lose this capacity, we lose the right measure. We start to interpret, to want to solve, to help.

Instead of offering empathy, we often have a strong impulse to give advice or reassurance and to explain our opinion or personal feelings.

To give empathy we need empathy.

When we realise that we are being defensive or unable to empathise, then we need to stop for a moment, reconnect with ourselves, acknowledge our feelings honestly, give ourselves what we need.

WHAT BLOCKS EMPATHY?

What causes us to communicate in a way that hurts others and ourselves?

Judgment, comparisons, lack of responsibility, demands, expectations.

When we express ourselves in this way we increase our defences and resistance towards those we actually care about. We build a wall, and that wall prevents us from understanding each other!

Only with empathy is it possible to truly understand each other.

So how do we train the art of communicating authentically, clearly, kindly, precisely and empathetically?

FIRST OF ALL, WE NEED TO LEARN TO DISTINGUISH JUDGEMENT FROM OBSERVATION.

The ability to observe is a great form of intelligence.

Just as judgement blocks creativity and creative adjustment, it also blocks our ability to put ourselves in the other person’s shoes. If I think you are a fool…. how can I put myself in your shoes? If I think you are unreachable, how can I put myself in your shoes?

Judgment must be suspended, both the negative one (idiot) and the positive one (super cool).
I suspend it for a moment, I put myself in front of another human being.

I listen to myself, I listen to you.

I like to talk about the sustainability of human relationships: training ourselves to remain human even in difficult and conflicting situations.

We learn to give conscious responses instead of just reacting:

our words become precise, expressed on the basis of what we perceive, what we feel and what we want. We express ourselves with honesty and clarity, awareness, presence, authenticity.

We do not just understand the content, but by putting ourselves in the other person’s shoes we can perceive the emotional nuances, the physical sensations.

Pay attention to your ability to feel empathy, first for yourself and then for the other person. Work on listening and yourself and listening to others.

Judgements will come, of course, just observe them, notice this natural tendency we have to express ourselves in the form of judgement. That is precisely why many times we do not understand each other.

When there is judgement in our words, in our gaze, in our tone of voice, we are not able to understand each other.

Only through empathy is it possible to truly understand each other.

I look forward to seeing you next week, with an extra bit of authenticity!