What would happen if you did one thing every day to reach out to someone else?
Showing empathy, love, or forgiveness is a decision we can make, not just an emotion we have to wait to happen to us. By reaching out to others, we lift them up and help improve their lives a bit. We benefit as well as we learn to appreciate the blessings that come from caring for others.
“Empathy is intuitive, but is also something you can work on, intellectually.” (Tim Minchin)
If you try, you can find ways to show empathy for someone every day. No matter what your situation may be, there is something you can do each day of the week, for example:
Monday: Be good company. Choose to be as nice and upbeat as you can be for one conversation, or a meal, or even for the day. Even if you don’t feel like it, try to be pleasant company for the person you are with. Along the way, you may even notice that you feel a little better yourself.
Tuesday: Show a little kindness. If you look, you will come across situations where someone can use some help or a kind word. When that happens, take the time to pause and show them some kindness. In return, the gratitude you feel will make the trouble worthwhile.
Wednesday: Have a real conversation. For one conversation, move beyond small talk to go deeper. Listen closely to the other person, and ask questions about them and their situation. Make them the only thing you focus on, even if only for a few minutes. You may discover a new way to talk to people, and you just might enjoy it.
Thursday: Pass on some encouragement. Everybody feels down once in a while, and for some depression is an ongoing issue. If you know someone who is having a tough time, give them a call, send an email, or mail them a letter to cheer them up. Perhaps, the next time you are not feeling well, they might do the same for you.
Friday: Invest in a relationship. Pick one person you will spend time with, and choose to put effort into that relationship. Even if it takes a while, keep at it, and try to turn someone who is an acquaintance into a friend. Then, enjoy that new, deeper relationship.
Saturday: Forgive someone who hurt you. You may not agree with everyone you know, you may not even like some of them. But you can still accept them, and forgive them when they do something wrong. Don’t do it in expectation of any specific result; do it because it’s the right thing to do. In the long run, you will be glad you did.
Sunday: Pray for someone else. It doesn’t take long to pray for someone. You can even do it before you get out of bed, and wouldn’t that be a good way to start the day?
Learning to connect more with others is a journey, and you can make progress by showing a little empathy to someone each day. Over time, this everyday empathy may change your life, and the lives of others, for the better. Enjoy the journey.
Can you perform one act of empathy today? How about tomorrow?
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