Rediscovering Empathy, Noticing the World Around You

July 30, 2019

Notice I use the word “rediscovering” vs finding or learning. Studies show that around 2 years of age, children start to show genuine empathy, an understanding of how other people feel even when they don't feel the same way themselves. Where did that go? Somewhere through life, we lost that understanding and replaced it with judgment, disregard, pity, hate…..I could just say blank and let you feel it in. This show isn’t to point a finger or cast my own judgment, as with all shows, it’s to bring it up, shine a light on it, discuss some alternatives, and offer some encouragement. If we don’t change our behavior we can’t expect anyone else to change. You may just have to lead the charge. Ok, I brought it up, grab a light and let’s see what’s really going on. 

The way of the world is working against us. Negativity is everywhere - at every turn, we are met with what is wrong with the world and its people. Rarely do we celebrate the good or give a public shout out for all that’s going right. I guess trauma and tragedy are more newsworthy or maybe it’s an attempt to keep us in problem-solving mode. My guess is it’s more sensational and just like witnessing a trainwreck, it keeps you tuning in. 

With all this focus on the negative, how could you possibly do anything but judge, pity, and hate? The media isn’t giving you the “why”, sharing intimate details with you about the people involved so you can see what might have led them to this place. You are only informed with the harsh reality or what they want you to believe. Whelp that’s it….we are doomed, humanity is nonexistent.

We need to take it back so we can understand where it came from and at what point we might have lost it. Just accepting that’s it...this is how things are now is unacceptable. When we accept this as normal, we lower the bar. I don’t even want to think how low it can go. So instead of thinking that way, I’m fighting back by bringing these subjects to your attention and challenging you to think about them a different way. 

Empathy, an important component of social and emotional development, emerges within consistent and caring relationships over several years. Much of the groundwork is laid during early attachments formed in infancy.

While we are born hardwired with the capacity for empathy, its development requires experience and practice.

I never talk to anyone who doesn’t recognize the problem. They are almost in total agreement and say something has to be done. No one knows the answer and most people are frustrated and confused about how to help. So what next? When you are in this state what happens? Do you continue to search for an answer unwilling to accept that reality? Or….do you give in and accept the changing times? “It is what it is, times are changing.” The good ol’ days are gone. I’m afraid that’s happening more than the previous suggestion. 

But you are just one person, what kind of impact could you have? Well, I’m here to tell you….a big one. Maybe not immediately on a nation, the country, or the world but you can impact the people you come in contact with and that’s a huge start. Understand and encouraging one person can start a ripple effect in ways you can’t possibly track. What if your positive outlook on the subject changed the way someone else viewed it? Their tune changed and they started sharing these “radical” ideas with someone else. I’m not talking about a video or FB post that goes viral….I’m talking about connecting, understanding and showing empathy, and encouraging someone else can change the world. Even if the movement doesn’t gain momentum in your lifetime, should you start it anyway? What a wonderful legacy you would leave. Your kindness and compassion rewrote history.

 The brilliant part of this is it’s free and you can start today. It really doesn’t take a lot of research or preparation and you can work it into every aspect of your life.

Start this new journey of being more empathetic with self-awareness. If you don’t take the time to notice the world around you and your part in it, you won’t be aware of the lack of empathy. Look up, look out, and land on those you encounter. Start thinking of their back story and where they might be going. Be kind, offer a smile, and a hand when you can. 

CHALLENGE: Connect with the power you possess to make a difference. Be willing to step outside the current and travel upstream. Be aware of the struggles around you and take a moment to understand, listen, and share of yourself. Your positive ripple will come back to you and enrich your life.

I know YOU Can Do It!

Encouragementology was listed as one of the Top 15 Personal Development & Self Improvement Audio Podcasts & Radio You Must Subscribe and Listen to in 2019 https://blog.feedspot.com/personal_development_podcasts/