This is an oldie, but one worth reiterating.
Trying to do something either means you’re not really
doing it or you don’t want to do it. If you were actually
doing it you wouldn’t have used the word “trying.”
All that physical trying is psychologically tiring.
Take an extra second and reframe the same statement, shaping
a “constructive” meta-message for yourself as
much as your listener:
with: “Working towards…”
Sustained change is the result of incremental
improvement over time. I am no longer trying to walk everyday;
I am working towards walking each day. Hear the difference?
That gives permission (and a meta-pep talk) to keep at it—to
persist through commitment, not effort. Though both are generally
required, there’s a difference between the two.
of the Month
- The ability and the willingness to put yourself
in the other guy’s shoes.
Empathy is silent heart-to-heart communication.
It is soul-to-soul recognition. It is not the same
thing as sympathy which contains an element of pity. Empathy
communicates, “I can relate to what you’re going
through and though I can see your discomfort, I am here to
support you.” Sympathy says, “I wish you weren’t
going through this because it causes me discomfort to watch
and I have no idea how to help you out of it.”
Empathy is not about helping—it’s about
holding; holding the space between you and others,
the space of humanity’s connective tissue. The best
help anyone can offer another is a belief in themselves. Believe
they can handle their challenges and they will.
Sympathy on the other hand, is a feeling of sadness for another.
When you seek it for yourself, (say you arrive late to a meeting
pleading the “traffic” held you up) it’s
because it is the cheapest, quickest and easiest way to get
some approval to counter balance the embarrassment you’re
feeling or the pity party you’re holding in your honour.
When you give sympathy too easily, it’s still about
feeling connected to and approved of by the other person.
It is not to be confused with empathy. There’s nothing
bad about appearing sympathetic; it’s simply
more effective to be empathetic. Save your sympathy
for yourself. Give your empathy to others.