I feel for you.
Thoughts and prayers are with you.
These lines are all too familiar these days. I wonder if after you say these words, you dismiss these promises as response given; an efficient tick off your check off list.
Do you need thoughts and prayers at that time only? Is it just in a crisis that they are given them?
Dr. David Siegel writes: “When we can (examine) the mind of others; that is called compassionate understanding, or simply empathy.”
When you think of the trials of someone you know, do you think:
“Man! I am sure glad that is not me!”
While you may think of them with pity and actual sorrow, how many of you actually understand what they must be thinking, feeling, or living? Real compassion takes active response.
Perhaps you really don’t know the feeling of a bad diagnosis, a broken marriage, or an unexpected stroke of bad luck.
Where are you in your “investment” of empathy?
Instead of saying: “I feel for you” maybe try saying: I feel AS you. I support you in every way and I am not going away after telling you this. I will actively put myself in your shoes and try and feel what it is like to walk your walk. I am trying to understand.
Our country has seen crisis after crisis in the past few months. The response to each crisis is the same: “thoughts and prayers.”
But where is the compassion?
Where is the action?
Try making a map of your thoughts and feelings. A mindsight map actually tells you more yourself about than you consciously think. Ask the person you are supporting to do the same. As you compare their feelings to what you are feeling, what do you learn?
I would suggest this exercise to all leaders. On any given day, the people you lead may be experiencing things that are not in evidence to you. They may be living through tough times, and you may misinterpret this as laziness, incompetence, or even a personal dislike for you.
Take the action to understand and connect with the people around you. It may just surprise you.
Thanks for listening.