Second Doorway to Compassion

Empathic Concern

Last week we looked at how cognitive empathy (understanding another’s perspective) can help you navigate difficult conversations during the holiday season. This week we explore another kind of empathy to help you through gnarly holiday gatherings: sensing what others need or what Daniel Goleman calls  “empathic concern.” This second doorway gets us one step closer to compassion. If you understand what others are saying with cognitive empathy, you can then sense what they might need. … Read more…

Doorways to Compassion

Cognitive Empathy

As you gather with your family and attend holiday parties, empathy and compassion can help you navigate the difficult conversations that are bound to occur in the aftermath of the year’s destructively contentious election season.  (Even if everyone agrees to avoid talking about politics, fear and anger can be easily rekindled.) To open the doorway to compassion with our family, friends and coworkers, we need, at the very least, to understand people’s perspectives or have … Read more…

Listening and Questioning Tied to Empathy and Compassion

Listening and questioning, which we have been examining for the last five weeks, are actions we can take which are tied to empathy and compassion.  Both empathy and compassion seem appropriate for the season, so we wanted to delve in again with our post from November 11, 2015. Tina Turner’s 1984 Grammy Song of the Year asks “What’s love got to do with it?” It turns out that compassion—an element of love—has everything to do … Read more…

Talking Better Together by Being Compassionate

At a meeting of 20 scientists and 6 lab technicians in a research and development company, one of the technicians, Sharon, unexpectedly bursts into tears. She describes how “pulled apart” she feels by all the competing needs and priorities of the scientists, and she wails, “I am so frustrated that I can’t do the quality of work I want to do because there is just too much of it, and there is no way to … Read more…

Cultural Corrosion

What are we to make of the horrifying events of last week? Two black men killed by two police officers and five police officers killed by one black man. Are there any words or gestures that are adequate or meaningful in the face of this increasingly destructive spiral of fear, anger and violence? New York Times Columnist Charles Blow wrote, “We must see all unwarranted violence for what it is: A corrosion of culture.” Perhaps the … Read more…

What’s Compassion Got To Do With It?

Tina Turner’s 1984 Grammy Song of the Year asks “What’s love got to do with it?” It turns out that compassion—an element of love—has everything to do with how we talk with one another. Is it a “second-hand” emotion as the song suggests? Compassion might sound like a surprising, even unnecessary, element in meetings. However, to solve complex issues, we need to converse and build relationships with people who have different life experiences and points … Read more…