How to Discover True Empathy in Many Small Things
You’re doing great, and we should remind you of that.
Everyone knows them. The World Improvers. People who make history. They often change the world for the better. To all of you: Thank you for being there. We can be proud of you. A toast to every one of you.
I would like to use these words today for many more people. Yes, like at a small award ceremony. If you thought it was over, but there is still a prize to be given.
To all the people who have remained friendly today. Those who don’t take themselves too seriously. Those who are present for others. Those who also respond to bad moods with a smile. Those who do their work conscientiously every day, even if it is not a good day. Those who thank you in traffic for every kind behavior. Those who offer others a place in the subway. Those who are generally willing to help others. Those who are also willing to help, although it is an immense overcoming for them. Those who always greet.
Thanks to you. You always make our world a little bit more worth living in tiny moments. And I don’t know if you are aware of that at all.
More than just a definition
Our world has become so hectic. We have no more time. No time for attention. No time for the extra five minutes. Everything just needs to work. But if you take a closer look, you can still find a lot of what I personally understand as empathy or empathic behavior. By definition, our books have the following meaning for empathy:
The ability to understand and share the feelings of another.
For me personally, empathy goes even further. The moment I am friendly towards another person, I am empathetic. Why? Because I know that another behavior may hurt their feelings in any way. This may sound a bit excessive in the first instance, but it can quickly apply to millions of small everyday situations.
A smile on your lips, a good feeling in your stomach
Today’s traffic in many metropolises around the world belongs to the crème de la crème of stress factors. Every driver needs enough concentration, consideration, and nerves of steel. A situation I know from all sides is the common agreement with other drivers. For example in terms of priority. Drivers are often forced to give way, but at certain points traffic is regulated by interpersonal communication and signals. I am always delighted when people thank me for individual gestures in road traffic. It is probably one of the smallest thank you ever. But it means so much to me. It makes me believe. That most people are good. That they know that in this second I have shown consideration and given you the right of way. I can be very happy about something like that, it puts a smile on my face and gives me a good feeling.
Understanding and consideration in all areas make our world so enjoyable to live in. We cannot lose that. Each individual contributes to a respectful coexistence. Interpersonal relationships are what make us different. No matter how short or small they may be.
I also heard something suitable from a friend the other day. He spent several days at a festival. In the standing area in front of the grandstand, it was very extreme. People were occasionally knocked out again and again. What he found remarkable was the helpfulness of each individual. There were very fast rescue lanes and ways for the respective persons formed.
It makes me very happy to hear these things as I no longer take them for granted. There are innumerable negative examples, innumerable moments in which civil courage failed to appear and in which people are treated unfairly. But I don’t want to go into that any further because that’s not the point here. We do not have to write an article about bad acts. At least not here.
I have given some reflection and listed a few things by which you can recognize empathic actions and of which you can also make use at any time:
- To say thank you for every little action — I am always surprised by the power of a simple thank-you. Why should our counterpart not know that we are grateful to him for his words, actions or gestures — no matter how small or large they are?
- Just as you call into a forest, so it also comes back — I am a big fan of this saying and try to face people with a maximum of friendliness and understanding. I am particularly amazed when there have been statements before, such as: “Nobody can cope with him/her, he/she behaves very strangely.” I can very often disprove this and say: “I was able to talk to him/her very well.”
- Learn from others — I once heard that sometimes people in restaurants take over the bill from strangers. So if a person in your viewing radius seems likable to you, you can pay his bill. So far the procedure. Of course, you don’t have to put this into practice immediately. The point for me is that your environment can also set positive impulses in the direction of empathy.
- Give more compliments — Instead of regularly comparing and criticizing ourselves, we should say much more often that we appreciate or admire certain things. Let’s work together for more positive energy.
- Be aware that you are good — Don’t stop your good behavior. We all experience disappointments and difficult times. Sometimes it seems endless. I only ask you to preserve your unique nature and smile.
In all of us, there is a small World Improver. Every day we help each other and put each other on the right track. We should not loosen up here. We should continue. It is important that WE all remind ourselves of this. I am happy to share these things with you.
“The great gift of human beings is that we have the power of empathy, we can all sense a mysterious connection to each other.”
― Meryl Streep