In recent days, I have been surprised by the growing number of social media posts lacking empathy for those struggling financially or emotionally during the Covid-19 pandemic. Empathy is a critical leadership skill. It is the capacity to understand what another person is experiencing from within their frame of reference. I see it as different from compassion. Compassion is to feel what another is going through. When you have compassion, you are putting yourself in someone else's shoes and feeling for them. And, then there is sympathy. Sympathy is when we seek to do something to show that we understand. It is what we do to help. Sometimes, I may have empathy and compassion but no sympathy. When a person has been given the tools to change their circumstances but they choose to remain where they are – I can have empathy and compassion but may not want to do more to “help” because you cannot help someone who wants to remain where they are. Standing in judgement gets in the way of compassion and empathy which are desperately needed.
Years ago, I started following a YouTube channel called Great Depression Cooking. In 2009, at the age of 93, Clara Cannucciari started video blogging. She passed away in November 2013 at the age of 98. She gave five tips to survive hard times: 1. Family 2. Have a Garden 3. Use and Reuse 4. Make Your Meals 5. Eat Healthily
The number one tip is family. On a macro-level, we are all family. Whether work colleagues, citizenry, people of the world – we are all interconnected.
Leveraging empathy and compassion will help us thrive. Osho said “Love is the goal, life is the journey.” It is fear that is driving harsh commentary, when we understand this we have the power to let it go. The follow-up argument will be about tomorrow. But, to quote Osho again, “Tomorrow never comes, it is always today.”
P.S. Empathy is part of our Emotional Intelligence – if you want to learn more about your EQ-i,
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P.S.S. To check out Clara’s channel: https://www.youtube.com/DepressionCooking #empathy #compassion #sympathy #emotionalintelligence #osho #greatdepressioncooking #behape #madelynhamilton #happinessisaninsidejob #covid19 #greatdepression