Empathizing Before Acting
A while back I went to a party where I knew there would be some people in attendance with whom I had some unfortunate interactions, to say the least.
Talk about awkward and uncomfortable!
I felt their negativity in the small talk we had, and it left me feeling dirty inside.
My first thought was to just avoid all possible interactions with them in the future.
Only “positive vibes” right?
After a few moments of reflection, another thought came to me: “How would you react in their situation had you experienced what they went through?”
I would like to think my response would be different, but I’m not entirely sure.
All of a sudden my disgust turned to empathy.
Instead of deciding to immediately “write them off” as irredeemably lost to negativity, I now desired to empathize and encourage them first.
Negativity is toxic. And there are times where I’m sure separating myself from individuals who want to persist in negative attitudes will be necessary.
But may I always remember the 5th habit from Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People,
“Seek first to understand, then be understood.” -Stephen Covey
Or as I like to now say, empathize before acting.
Thanks for reading!