Keeping the Resolution of Empathy

Considering my many resolutions that never seem to make it, I wanted 2017 to be different. This year I wanted a resolution that had some kind of “start over” quality for every time I failed. I chose to become more empathetic. Making 2017 the year of dropping greed and taking up empathy in all my relationships would be my New Year’s resolution. I don’t consider myself a necessarily greedy person but it’s difficult to have concern for others when we are all egocentric to some degree.

Running a business can put you into a “me first” mentality out of sheer survival for the business. Knowing empathy requires listening and being present for others, it’s easy to become anxious and greedy about your time. It does require a certain amount of balancing to remain caring and at the same time effective in what you need to accomplish.

Empathy is what you feel only when you can step outside of yourself and enter the internal world of another person. This means you don’t abandon your own perspective, you can experience the other’s emotions, conflicts, or aspirations from within, while still remaining you.

Without the hard-wired capacity of empathy in all of us, we would not have survived the harshness of the African plains. Our ancestors needed to have the ability to recognize the often dire situations that came upon them and others. Empathy was a necessary emotion that alerted us to unsafe surroundings, and unmet needs of the psyche for connection to the tribe. Without a sense of empathy, caring or helpfulness, many individuals didn’t go on to add to the gene pool. We must have made it, we are here, but empathy is still only somewhat innate. The lack of empathy in this world is often visible anywhere you look, substantiating it needs to be taught and practiced. In fact all social and emotional skills need to be incorporated into our education systems if we are going to be a compassionate, healthy society. There has been a call amongst educational leaders to bring soft skills such as empathy back into education and to make them a prime focus.

Empathy is a synonym for the third domain of Emotional Intelligence, called Social Awareness, we teach here at Simpatico. It is a very powerful self-monitoring skill that reminds us the significance of putting others first to enhance all our relationships. Remembering that I chose this resolution in the hopes of keeping it, by getting out of myself and into a concern for others. Allowing me to “start over” when I fall short, time and time again….so wish me luck.

Just imagine if everyone in the world could give up a little greed and empathize with each other, the world truly would be a better place. Simpatico encourages the belief that “Life is only as good as the relationships we form.”

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