Empathy: needs focus on others

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Have you ever noticed how many times people are so focused on their own needs, wants and feelings that there is very little time or effort spent on how others might be feeling.   Last month we talked about being open-minded and accepting the differences of each other, and what better way of doing this than to be aware of the needs of others as we make decisions.  To do so effectively we must understand the feelings of other persons.

Some have put it this way, “We must climb inside the other person”, “Walk in their shoes”, to really be able to respond to situations in a way that is empathetic.  The very first step in this process is to be able to read and understand people’s feelings.  This calls for taking the time to listen and observe body language, gestures, tone of voice and other observations to help us understanding the other person. 

The step of listening is so important in this observing.  Not just hearing but ‘deep listening’ , observing where they are coming from and why they be taking the stand that they are taking.  Of course asking good questions and listening closely to the answer without pre-judging or thinking we know the answer is the first key step in being motivated to respond to the needs of others.

How good are you at understanding?  If you were to rate yourself on a scale of 1-10 where would you be at this point, and more important – what could you do that would increase the score?  This month lets consider this together and see if we can raise our awareness in ourselves and in those around us. 

Teaching “failure tolerance”

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When a child is learning to walk, we cheer their every attempt. Finally after many “failures” they gain a single step and then all of us cheer wildly. One day in a Tiger Tot class one of the siblings just about a year old took his first step. All the moms were cheering right in class. The young child takes all this in and keeps trying until finally walking is no big deal.
But sometimes as parents when the child is older we try to lessen the suffering of not reaching a goal or success. We might do it by taking the blame on our selves or by punishing the child hoping that he will learn not to make that mistake again. In the end when we make to big a deal about failures or mistakes, we are not helping them keep from making the same mistake again.
In fact what we may be doing is ensuring that the child may not want to risk again. They feel the need to cower and hide from opportunities that could, possibly, maybe, end up in a mistake. They may be afraid to explore their own dialogue. In fact they may end up being driven by external forces in making decisions about what is right for them to do. Once any of us look at the external forces for making a decision choosing what we are willing to risk, our confidence suffers.
We are now open to being swayed by whatever the latest fashion or trend is and not taking the time to ask ourselves, “What is the right thing to do,” “for me” not anyone else just me. As parents our responsibility is to let the child know how remarkable it was that they made the attempt and point out the good that came from it, including the the things they did well within their failed attempt.
We must be careful not to dwell on the mistake, but to celebrate the successes and move forward. Allow ourselves or our children to work out how to overcome the adversity.

Randy’s ‘Last Lecture”

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Today it was announced that Randy Rausch passed away.  Just this past week I read his book, The Last Lecture, by Randy Rausch. It is very inspiring and there are lessons in the book from this very brave man that we can all be reminded of as we face our own troubles.

1. Brick walls are there for a reason:how bad do you really want something?
2. Experience is what you get when you don’t get what you wanted.
3. Never lose your child-like wonder!

I know the link I am about to give you will be very much worth taking the time to watch, though the book does a very good job too. But take the time to watch this video as this man facing death in a matter of just a few months points us in a direction that we can learn from.
Thank you Randy for providing this look into your world as it provides us the opportunity to look into our own world as we face different situations in our lives. Check Out This Video!
It is long (1:44 hrs) but well worth it.  If you read the book or watch the video, please tell me what you liked about it the best.  What did you take from it?