It’s all well and good that we want to make a difference in our world.
We say we want to make a contribution and an impact on those we serve. And that is a pursuit that I want to follow myself, and help facilitate in others.
But do we truly understand the people we want to serve?
Are we making a contribution that is actually useful to them? Or are we creating something that is just for us? That might be useful, but is not put forward to the world in a language that they understand.
To make a meaningful contribution, we must practice empathy.
Empathy is connection. It is our ability to understand how other’s feel and to support them. By looking at the world through the lens of another, we can thoughtfully acknowledge their perceptions and feelings.
It is also about creating space for others, so that they know we will actively and constructively listen to them. Knowing that we will be there to provide support.
It is allowing them to be vulnerable.
It’s about listening without passing judgement.
The helping part comes after. Being sensitive to others and the way that they perceive the world will help us to build a thing that will be useful. A thing that can help.
But we shooting in the dark unless we practice empathy and awareness.