We live in relationship with others. Whether we are an introvert or an extrovert on the personality scale, we live in relationship with others in the home, the school, the workplace, and the community. Psychologists, pastors and wise old folks would tell us that life is about relationships and a healthy life consists of healthy relationships.
As we continue on our journey to build and strengthen our character, it is important that we identify some guideposts to keep us on the path to healthy relationships.
We live in a world that is quick to pass judgement. It seems as we have all transitioned into the speed of the digital age for telecommunications, we have also accelerated our willingness to make judgements just as fast as we can scroll through a social media page.
This accelerated pace to judgement creates a risk for us veering off the path towards healthy relationships.
Empathy, the ability to understand and “feel” the emotions of another individual, is one of those important guideposts to keep us on the path to building healthy relationships. Empathy is our gateway to understanding and understanding is the foundation for healthy relationships.
Empathy not only give us a better perspective through understanding, it can help us answer the question about why someone acted the way they did in a particular situation.
Expanding our level of empathy is not accomplished in a quick scroll through our most recent social media updates. Empathy takes an investment to understand someone’s experiences, beliefs, and assumptions in order to better understand why they are the way there are and why they did what they did.
Like a lot of things in life, growing our empathy takes time and effort. It is our choice. Here are just a few thoughts around empathy that may help us to stay on a path to stronger, healthier relationships:
- The ability to understand one another through growing our empathy is the foundation for healthy relationships.
- Empathy takes an investment and we have limited resources of time and effort. Start with those relationships that matter most.
- Quick judgments on behaviors we don’t like because we don’t care enough to grow our empathy is rarely going to help us bring about the changes we desire in close relationships.
- A simple starting point when we feel like passing a quick judgement is to simply pause and ask, “Please, help me understand…”
As we continue to grow our empathy in the relationships that matter most, we will carry that discipline to our broader view of the world around us and we will continue to build and strengthen our character and Character Creates Opportunity® to remain on the path building healthy relationships.