Sunday, January 6, 2013

Building Empathy

I do not empathize with people easily, and I wonder if that is related to my long history of not making friends easily. I am able to empathize very easily with animals. As a result I became a vegetarian about ten years ago.

I do believe that one way to get closer to others is to share yourself, and I have come to accept who I am as a person and feel comfortable sharing myself (hence, this blog). However, I also think that telling my stories isn' t enough. People have to want to share with me.

I've met other people who are magnets for friends, who receive the openness of others regularly. They seem to (from my outsider's perspective) make friends easily. They draw people to their side. What I've observed is that these people seem to genuinely CARE about the people that they meet.

For example, a friend of mine's mother is one of these magnetic types. When I first met her, and evey visit since, she' s convinced me that I' m her long lost daughter. She exudes love, I think, and as a result I can' t help but love her back.

As was once said, all you need is love.

So I tried it. I tried simply walking through my day and ' loving' people. Call it a mantra, but in the last 48 hours whenever I' ve met a stranger I' ve thought to myself, 'I love you'.

My result?

It' s been some really rewarding hours. I talked to storekeepers, to fellow moms at the exercise studio, and others, and really felt good listening to them. The storekeeper told me all about the first time she tried a squash soup at a local restaurant, and I felt like I had a few sips of it myself. The other mom told me all about her marriage and home life, and I felt like I was in her home with her. Just keeping them positively in mind made me listen harder and connect with them more easily.

Most interestingly, it made them want to tell me their stories. Perhaps they could tell I wanted to listen.

Hey, I love you man.

Peace out.

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