Monday Mojo – Listen. Understand. Connect.

What’s the difference between sympathy and empathy? As it turns out, quite a bit.

In my latest blog, I explore the difference, and ask the question “Is Empathy Being Lost?”.

I explain that social media has become a particularly scary place lately. Hate speech is on the rise and, certainly for women, it’s becoming a more and more troubling space to inhabit.

A lack of empathy doesn’t always show up as hate though. It can be in the subtle ways people – including friends and family – try to “help”, but potentially do more harm than good.  Bereavement is one example for this.

One of the things I talk about in Answers in the Dark, is when something bad has happened, it’s not long before we are told we should be “over it” (which, of course, is absolute rubbish). All grief is valid. Everyone is different. It takes as long as it takes.

And yet, the implication that we’re grieving wrong means our grief goes underground and we stop talking about it.  This is bound to steal our sparkle, and we may even lose empathy ourselves.

Here’s some thoughts. 

This week, maybe set the intention to listen, understand and connect. These are the tips that Jamil Zaki gives in his TED Talk. In the main, he encourages us to get curious about why (for example) we bristle when someone says something we don’t like. Instead of shutting them out, we could try leaning in and see if we can find some common ground.

It’s just as important though, to listen, understand and connect with ourselves. This might be through paying attention to the subtle cues of your body (like when you’re sleepy, hungry or thirsty) or when you’re worrying or beating yourself up. And if you start to notice your patience for others is wearing thin, step back, reset and recharge.

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Published by Delphi Ellis

Therapeutic counsellor, well-being trainer and author working with grief and mental health, helping people get their sparkle back. Explores dreams on telly. Avid tea drinker. © Delphi Ellis - Helping You Sparkle™ 2006 - 21

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