– the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.
People are not naturally wired to see through the eyes of the other. Biological disposition dictates self-survival over self-sacrifice. That’s why there’s always tension in society — racial, religious, political, the list goes on.
I will feel much better when they stop threatening my way of life.
It is necessary to teach and practice empathy. I believe it’s the only way to bridge the disconnect that permeates our society.
But empathy is not simply exercised, it too must be catalyzed. Simply putting yourself in another’s shoes is a one-way street. Yes, we begin to see the view from the other side of the table, but how do we get the other side of the table to acknowledge our perspective as well?
The answer is Transparency.
We have to be bold by being vulnerable. We have to learn and trust that when we put ourselves out there — yes, some will try to shoot us down — but there will also be a few who will see us through a new and different lens… our lens.
And when that shift happens, the bonds tighten, the trust builds, and the fabric strengthens.