Thank you for your willingness to learn empathy from me.
Learning the Pain and Pleasure of Empathy. You may wonder how I learned empathy, and how I became a counselor. Well, you already know! Yep, you’ve already read the lessons I learned:
- Blunder with the woman who shared her transgression – I had to consider understanding another person. Read HERE.
- Blunder with the man who exploded in anger at the idea of God – I had to learn to ease genltly into a converssation with someone I had just met. To know the person before I shared even the love of God. Read HERE
- Blunder telling a crying woman, “Life can’t be that bad.” Read HERE
- Confrontation from my church member – who taught me to “think like the other guy.” Read HERE
In other words, I learned empathy mostly under supervision from people more experienced, who were invested in my growth in effectiveness with people. But there’s another dynamic present in all of my experiences: They were painful. I got stung over and over. One supervisor in a group setting, after I reported something I had said to a patient on the ward, exploded, “Why the hell did you say THAT?”
I remembered those early experiences; they were a part of my training experience. They became part of me. I learned. L. Doward McBain, former president of American Baptist Seminary of the West once told me, “We never learn anything without tension; we never admit it at the time.”
I don’t know what you need to do to learn empathy, presuming you want to. But I want to encourage you. By telling you how painful it was for me to learn empathy, I know it will be painful for you also. So, learn from your blunders; we’re all human. We have to begin somewhere. I told you mom’s response if I dared challenge her, “That’s Why and Z, too!” Not good empathy training. So I had to learn it the hard way.
Learning the Pain and Pleasure in Empathy
But I want to encourage you. Here’s a brief (15 minute) video of Simon Sinek, inspirational business speaker, who speaks on Empathy. Consider this learning empathy the easy way (if you do what he says): Watch Simon Sinek on Empathy HERE