Choose your words wisely!
We have two ears and one mouth!
In this post...
When the people in our lives feel off balance it is natural and healthy to reach out, but what is it they really need in that moment? Yes it is true that people sometimes need a kick to get themselves back on track... but most often people need to be able to have the time and space to be able to understand their situation. In such a fast pace world that we live in today how often do you get chance to truly be listened to or listen to others? Keep reading...
What are people really asking for?
We all know that it is a fast paced world that we live in today. Even if we have a relaxed pace in the home, we only need to go outside to find we are bombarded by advertising and thousands of people rushing about consumed by electronic devices. So if somebody that you know or care for reaches out, what exactly is it that they really want and need? The answer is ... to be SEEN!
People are intelligent, yes it is true that sometimes they need advice but it is important to see their perspective.
So it is important to ask the question...Do people need more information or just to have some time with someone who will really listen to what they are saying?
The difference between sympathy and empathy
There are many differing views on this area but for this post we are going to give the following...sympathy is observing...empathy is aligning!
Sympathy - to observe or pity another's misfortune from a distance
If a person is having a challenging time or just wants to connect, sympathy is not what they are asking for. Basically, sympathy is somebody saying "I can see that you are in a dark cave but I don't want to align with that...I'll just sit outside in the sunshine and listen"
When a person turns to another person and all they get back is sympathy, they will very often feel alone. Sympathy comes in the form of trying to fix the problem or re-frame it. in essence, trying to make the person happy by putting it in a new light, but what this is really doing is ignoring the person and their real feelings which will actually make the situation worse.
Empathy - to connect to a person and feel what they feel but without feeling down
Empathy is a skill and it can be learned by anybody and is one of the most valuable skills and gifts you can give to another person who is reaching out for help.
When somebody asks for help, sitting down with them and really listening to what they are saying without judgement or tying to 'be all positive' is one of the most powerful ways you can truly connect to another person and make them feel valued. This does not mean to be in the same emotional state they are in, but it does mean to connect with that emotion in yourself and to understand what they are feeling.
Remember ...sympathy is observing...empathy is aligning!
Brene Brown explains it perfectly!
Brene Brown is a very powerful and articulate speaker on emotional health and well-being. In this 3 minute video she explains the difference between sympathy and empathy in a visually entertaining way that really gets the point across!
Remember...we live in a busy world. If somebody turns to you to talk about things, stop and ask yourself...what is it they really need? Are they asking for asking for advice or do they just need you to listen.
Though it is important to practice this and be aware that different people need different things.
Sometimes people just need advice, sometimes people need a re-frame, sometimes people need to be given a wake up call and sometimes people need to be listened to by somebody who won't judge or try to fix them.
We have two ears and one mouth and they should be used in that ratio!