You Don't Have To Fill Anyone's Shoes...
Have you ever sat in a room of babies and one baby started to cry, then the other babies also cried? Well that is an example of compassionate empathy. Empathy is your ability to recognize, understand, and share in the thoughts and feelings of another person; to see things from their perspective. This is what it means to walk in someone else’s shoes.
I was asked earlier this week to choose three words to describe myself. One of the words I choose was companionate. Like the babies in the room, I am able to recognize and share in the feelings and struggles of others. This is no ability unique to myself. It is a capacity that we all have. Even the narcissist.
I get that the degree to which we participate in what someone else is going through depends on our willingness to do so, and our emotional capacity. We've all got our own stuff going on right? but I am reminded through scripture that no one is too important or too poor to help someone else. And No one is exempt from needing help. Can you remember a time that you needed help?
I recall the long hard months after my first business closed. Like a child's swing, I oscillated
between hope and worry. I struggled to pay my apartment rent and utilities, as well as buy groceries. I needed emotional and compassionate empathy to get me through that difficult period. I found it in my small village. Have you ever had a time when you needed empathy? Have you ever need others to recognize and understand how you were feeling or what you were going through?
The world is going through a crisis. There is no better time to show compassionate empathy than during a crisis, whether it be a personal crisis or a global crisis. Empathy is a byproduct of agape love. The world today needs lots of it. People of the world need to know that others care. People of the world need to feel connected even in the midst of social distancing.
Empathy ought to be modelled and practiced. Empathetic behavior includes:
Encouragement/Upliftment – make a call, send an email, send a text, send a video , send a voice note, check in, listen
Social interaction – Pay a visit, hangout, invite out (COVID-19 has made this difficult but it can be done virtually)
Service – serve others with your gifts and/or resources (time, money, materials)
Remember, you don't need to fill anyone's shoes, just be willing to stand in them.
From my heart to yours