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Thursday, October 25, 2012

Empathy Experiment - the Cousin Vulnerability

Lots of people are hurting.

Not in a "can't function" kind of way.  In fact, I'm learning through my focus on empathy and interaction with people that share their stories with me that hurting is the norm.  I try to give people a safe place to share their story.  I feel drawn to this because I understand that craving.  The deep guttural need to feel heard.  Not fixed, not changed, not judged, just heard.

I spent the week in a beautiful place with beautiful people......people that I love and respect.  I walked away recharged and connected to the human spirit.  Not necessarily because it was all fun and games, even though there were absolutely some fun and games, but because I heard their stories.  I felt their humanness.  Their quest to be heard.

I tried to listen. I tried to match them heart to heart.  I wanted them to feel that I genuinely cared and to give them the sense of belonging and comfort that hurting people need.  Not in a "poor baby" kind of way but in a "tell me more, I care" kind of way.

In return, some gave me that same time and space.  Then just behind empathy came it's cousin, vulnerability.  I'm working these days to exercise my vulnerability muscle just as much as the empathy one.  They're connected.  My vulnerability muscle is sore and taxed.  I'm not used to using it.  I'm trying to sit with it tonight and be okay with it.  It's more difficult than I thought it would be.