“The HEART has its REASONS of which reason knows nothing.” Pascal Two
Words that are mistakenly used as if they were synonyms are SIMPATIA (CONDOLENCIA) and EMPATIA (CONSOLACIÓN). Sympathy is basically the “harmonious agreement” that does not have to have any understanding or sincerity. Empathy is an “identification” with the person and the problem. We allow our feelings to take over and do more harm than good when someone is in need of help and assistance.
Communication is one of the most important qualities and skills that differentiates human beings from other beings. That we can TALK is a miracle. How nice it would be if we could treat the way of speaking as a miracle as well. Discourse occurs on at least three levels. First, it is “WHAT I SAY” in a conversation. Second, it is “WHAT YOU HEAR” to say, as long as you filter the same things through your personal experiences. Ultimately, it’s “WHAT I THINK YOU MEAN BY WHAT I SAID!” We’ve all experienced those situations. We say something, think about what we said, and then say, “That’s not what I meant.
What I wanted to say is this…” Stephen Covey, in his book “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” lists the fifth habit as “Seek first to understand rather than seek to be understood.” This may seem like a very simple and “too obvious” statement, but give it a try. The next time you interrupt what someone is saying because you THINK you already know what to say, you are violating this principle. We don’t know the times nor often WHERE a person comes from (especially our employers). We could make this even more difficult and talk about Mars and Venus but we’ll just talk about the employer and the employee. We all have our “special interests” and have been taught to “always seek to be first – Number 1”. Jesus came with another message, of course, “help your neighbor too”. In fact, “love them as you love yourself” (taking care to understand them). What a tremendous concept! You see, we can’t help but ALWAYS JUSTIFY OURSELVES! You NEED TO BE a misfit to go through life thinking, “I’m not RIGHT.” However, when we listen carefully, so we can KNOW exactly what the person is saying, feeling, or perhaps trying to explain what they are not; we begin to build the “emotional banks or deposits” with that person. Good “emotional reservoirs” allow us to make mistakes without significant trauma in the relationship. Put in medical terms, doctors are warned and taught to DIAGNOSE rather than PRESCRIBE! If we would take a little more time to consider what the conversation, the mission, the goal, or the direction is in all situations, we would be much better off.
When was the last time you bothered to SEE what was being said to you, and that you strongly disagreed on principle? Since we live in a sitocracy, there is so much outside interference with conversations that true empathy and understanding is nearly impossible. Add to this double the information every five years and you have an excellent opportunity for miscommunication and misunderstanding. So this is not a trivial matter.
Many bonuses, promotions, sales, or relationships were lost because we jumped the rules and then reacted before receiving: violating the “rules of empathy”, or worse, joining the group of hypocrites. “Work can provide the opportunity for personal and spiritual growth, as well as financial growth. If not, we are wasting too much of our lives on it.” james autry