It’s Not About the Nail

When it comes to compassionately and consciously extending empathy and concern to another, listening is more powerful than you can imagine and foundational to the process.

While your instinct is to fix the issue by pointing out the obvious, there is always more that remains unseen.

Acts of gentle inquiry and sincere curiosity create the interpersonal knowledge of empathy. Rather than guessing or defining someone else’s pain or doubt, listening in a fully-focused way is the acknowledgement that can lead to trust.

True empathy is not transactional – it is interactional.

Active listening – or listening empathetically – creates space for someone else to express their feelings. It is a risk to do so because it makes one vulnerable and can lead to humiliation or manipulation. Sitting quietly with someone, receiving their words and emotions without advice, suggestions, or false positivity, lets someone hold their emotions up to the light for further consideration.

Whether you agree or don’t, these moments are not about you. They are about the other person and may lead to comfort, a breakthrough, a reframing, or sitting with the pain. We cannot erase every loss. It is also brave to acknowledge rather than hide or avoid our emotions.

When positive interactions take place, team members hear about the caring way you provided support.

This empowers others to make space for those who want to be heard and empathize with ideas or emotions in an honest and authentic way.

Our stories and narratives are our perception of self-identity. Trying to circumvent these by jumping in before truly listening will only lead to resistance.

What we can see at first glance is only superficial. The personal concerns and individual needs that lie below the surface, that are buried deeper, are the true source of the individual perspectives at the heart of human connection.