Compassion is, at its core, at act of imagination.
It’s the ability to think otherwise. The willingness to step back from our own experience and expose ourselves to the complete possibility of what might be.
This principle transformed my ability to connect with other people. It’s simply a matter of training yourself to view interaction as an exercise in creativity. A spontaneous game of improv theater that gives you permission to engage the greatest asset you have, your imagination, into a context that you might not have considered before.
For example, whenever I encounter people whose behaviors and attitudes and decision making processes utterly baffle me, I try to interrupt my judging mechanism with curiosity. I try to use creativity as the engine of compassion.
As the empathizer, you must begin to imagine how and why the other acts or feels the way they do. This imaginative process activates an associational network of memories, images and meanings in your mind, which, in turn are mapped to build a semblance or representation of those attitudes in your own mind. And even if it’s not completely accurate, this representation still brings empathy to life.
Who knew creativity could have such powerful interpersonal applications?
And so, if you’re trying build a wealth of compassion to send outward, consider these communication practices.
Instead of using people’s pain as an opportunity to tell them how to live their lives, try joining them in their process of suffering.
Instead of taking out your blame thrower to make people feel stupid about their decisions, accept that there are horrible things that happen to everybody through no fault of their own.
Instead of interpreting people’s behavior as a personal affront to your existence, remember that every emotional response is reasonable and logical based on that person’s personal history.
Remember, the courage to imagine the otherwise is our greatest resource.
Imagination useful for painting pictures, but let’s not overlook the opportunity to employ it in the service of empathetic relating.
LET ME ASK YA THIS…
Which communication hacks help you connect with people more effectively?
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That Guy with the Nametag
Author. Speaker. Strategist. Inventor. Filmmaker. Publisher. Songwriter.
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