As a society, much of our communication has become limited and task focused. And worse, done through impersonal technology. Compassion and care for the challenges of others is limited, even in settings, or with people, where we would expect to find it.
Many of us walk through the world with tunnel vision, concerned only with getting through the day and blocking out things that stir feelings of sympathy or sadness.
Or, when we are confronted with someone struggling, we respond with judgement and a sense of righteousness about their behavior or choices. Our own issues seem so much more important.
How can that person really be that bad off we ask ourselves?!!
But you know what?
EVERYONE’S HARD IS HARD. It all depends on your perspective.
Parents have it hard with all we have to balance. Kids have it hard, trying to live up to everyone’s rules and expectations. We all have our own set of hard stuff.
As parents, we can make a concerted effort to get curious instead of judgmental or angry when our kids have an off day. Instead of thinking that our day was harder than theirs, or that our stress matters more, we can try to take their perspective.
We can get curious about their feelings, their thoughts, their experiences.
We can try to CONNECT!! We can relate to our own similar experiences of struggle and reach out with compassion and empathy. Validate their emotions, acknowledge the hard stuff, and relate.
Do this without a “yes, but here is why…”
Stay in the moment and with the emotional experience instead of offering logic, excuses, or alternative views.
I love this little short film from Brene Brown that so neatly illustrates empathy and how it fuels connection and reduces stress. Check it out!
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