The core of The Good Human Experiment is empathy, so I’d love for us all to build up our empathy muscles.
When it comes to being a Good Human, this is probably the single most important trait we can possess, next to compassion.
The ability to put ourselves in someone else’s shoes can immediately help us be kinder and gentler to one another.
We don’t know the childhoods, experiences, issues, challenges and histories that may have led to another’s reactions, bad decisions, poor choices or questionable life paths. For all we know, they could have chosen the best option available or made the best decision based on their past histories and upbringing.
I personally believe we can never heal humanity if we can’t step into another’s path and try to understand it from their point of view. When it comes to cultural, religious and racial differences, we will never truly know unless we have lived it.
But we can empathize.
We can be more understanding, more aware and sensitive to one another, which can help us become more compassionate, forgiving, and loving.
And isn’t this what humanity needs more of?
Only we know our own path. Only we experience things the way we experience them. Only we see things the way we see them. So too, does every other person in the world.
If we immediately snap to judge others based on our own experiences and not theirs, we’re operating with blinders on and our own single, narrow world view.
Living in a bubble might seem pleasant enough, but not if you want real human connection and to change the world.
Let’s look at this from a micro level. In your own personal relationships, have you even been in a situation where you said something or did something but it was misinterpreted from your initial intent and completely misconstrued to be something else entirely? I have. I felt like my integrity was being challenged, especially since I didn’t mean it the way it was interpreted.
I actually found it really hard to comprehend that someone else could interpret it the way they did. But it happens. Everyone has their own triggers; their own past experiences. Something that seems harmless to me could be catastrophic to someone else.
Now, when it happens on a macro level – globally, culturally, politically, religiously – the fallout is far greater. Wars happen. People die. Races and religions become ostracized, stereotyped, banned.
In this case, we can only empathize and be compassionate to the plight of others because we truly don’t know their path.
My challenge to you, is to really flex your empathy muscle today.
I suspect most of you are already empathetic people, so it won’t be too much of a stretch.