The greatest gift bestowed upon human kind is that of empathy. We were granted the ability to take a step back and put ourselves in the shoes of others.
Although we were granted such a wonderful gift, we lack so much compassion at times. We are a defensive people that search for ourselves in things that don’t concern us. We read into the actions and words of others and we arrogantly assume we are the only motive behind those actions and words. We get offended quicker than we take the time to listen or consider other reasons for someones actions or behavior.
At twenty one years old I lost a friend to suicide. That experience lead me on a personal journey to understanding how I could become more empathic. When my friend passed away our relationship was actually poor. I had chosen to be upset and defensive when we hit a rough patch rather than just sitting down and asking why they were behaving that way.
Looking back, I realize that’s all they really wanted. They wanted to tell me that they were hurting because of family, pressure, broken dreams. They wanted my ears to hear their stories without input. They wanted to be transparent.
I let them down by assuming they were attacking me because they were being unreasonable. I didn’t take the time to understand that I had broken the trust of someone who was used to me just listening.
Never again will I have the chance to tell that person that their feelings are valid nor apologize for not being more understanding. That feeling will always haunt me.
Not everything is about us.
We need to ask questions without motives and make an effort to understand we aren’t always in need of a defensive attitude. We are to blame sometimes. So take the time to be understanding and also take time to leave some people behind.
That’s the kindest thing we can do sometimes.