Maybe we don’t need more empathy


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We assume we all see the world in the same way. But we don’t.

Let me start again. I assume. I assume we all see the world in the same way.

When I say, “see the world,” I’m speaking quite literally. For instance.

I read this blog post yesterday. “Today I have learned that not everyone has an internal monologue and it has ruined my day.”

Apparently, not all people think in words and sentences.

(Did you know this? Are you one of the people who doesn’t think your thoughts in words? Reply because I’m dying to chat about more about the details.)

The video chat at the end of this post is the best part, so watch the video if you can.

The interviewer is so, so uncomfortable as he confronts the reality of his interview subject and the way she experiences her thoughts.

It’s so hard for him to let her wordless-thoughts reality be her reality.

But, he accepts it. Because he has to.

If he denied her reality – if he refused to believe her or told her she must have misunderstood his questions or she’s just wrong – he’d sound kind of nuts. She’s telling him in plain English. (The English she never thinks in.)

He doesn’t empathize. But he allows.

He doesn’t understand. But now he knows.

Like I said, I love this reaction to encountering someone that is just so very different from me.

Allowing and accepting don’t get their due. It’s empathy I hear about. The world needs more empathy.

But we can’t always step into someone else’s shoes because we just can’t.

Or I can’t, anyway.

My brain is narrow and small and often terrified.

It’s not always sophisticated enough to set aside its own experience and don the experience of another.

But can I allow other people’s experiences to co-exist with my own? Hm.

M

PS: I was on The Secret Sauce podcast, where I talk about how to show up for your writing even when you don’t feel like it. Have a listen.

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