I mean, you can, but people feel it when you do. Disingenuous concern comes across as canned.
If meaningful connection and communication are to happen, empathy and compassion have to be real. “Me” and “You” become “We” and “Us”.
In his book Mindsight, Dr Siegel states that “feeling felt” is essential early in life as children gain insight into the vast inner sea inside them, but throughout life we continue to need such connections for a sense of vitality and wellbeing.
Vitality and wellbeing come with deep connections.
In a deeply divisive world today, bringing human beings closer to one another is vital.
There are crucial steps to increasing empathy.
The necessity for right and wrong must be absolved. By staying open to another’s story, we can find ourselves in them, and compassion is created. If fear or anger are felt about another’s story, connection is impossible. This is brain science. Our mirror neurons stop firing and we no longer see others like ourselves, leaving us susceptible to dehumanizing.
All judgment begins with self-judgment. With or without our permission, our minds are assessing whether we’re living up to our own conscious or unconscious rules or expectations.
The best way to begin to release self-judgment is by first noticing when it happens, and then challenge it. Releasing judgment of yourself of oneself directly impacts the ability to develop empathy for others. Dr Siegel states, “When your identity expands, you become aware of a much larger whole.”
To increase self-acceptance, what expectations will you have to let go?
The quickest way in the moment to shift out of judgment is to listen objectively, removed from the story, and begin to wonder. Be curious.
A sense of “we” happens when we attune to the internal shifts in another person, as they attune to us, and our two worlds become linked as one.
Through facial expression and tones of voice, gestures and postures we come to “resonate” with one another.
Dr Siegel describes this well, “The whole we create together is truly larger than our individual identities. We feel this resonance as a palpable sense of connection and aliveness. This is what happens when our minds meet. This what happens when empathy occurs and compassion abounds.”
To increase empathy: suspend judgment, release self-judgment, and become curious.
How would your working relationships change if curiosity was your default mindset?
What expectations do you have for yourself that are getting in the way of full acceptance of yourself?
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