Celebrating Empathy
     One of the books which has had the most influence on my life in the last decade is Whole New Mind by Daniel H. Pink.
    According to the website,Whole New Mind “reveals the six essential aptitudes on which professional success and personal fulfillment now depend”.
     Those six skills include Empathy: going beyond logic and engaging emotion and intuition.
    Psychology Today defines empathy as “the experience of understanding another person's condition from their perspective.”
At Work
    An article by Charles Duhigg in the New York Times this week was about teams in the business world, and what differentiates the teams with greater success from the others.
    There was no easily detectable formula. Obvious factors like degrees held or work experience seemed to be equally represented on teams experiencing very different results.
    As the researchers delved more deeply into details of the group dynamics, they discovered that “the good teams all had high ‘‘average social sensitivity’’— a fancy way of saying they were skilled at intuiting how others felt based on their tone of voice, their expressions and other nonverbal cues” which is a good way to describe empathy.
    Daniel Pink is correct: the presence of empathy is necessary, especially in group relationships. Given the collaborative nature of life and work in the millennium, this means we can all benefit from developing ours.
    Being empathetic in business can, according to the Bulletproof Executive, be difficult. When your natural inclinations, combined with education and training have led you to develop a “rational” mind, the use of  emotion and intuition is something needing awareness and practice.
With People
    Empathy is the ultimate people skill. “When you understand others, they'll probably want to understand you – and this is how you can start to build cooperation, collaboration, and teamwork” says MindTools
    Empathy is a vital, and maybe under-celebrated, skill, in all areas of life. Infant and child care, in fact much caring work, would be impossible without the ability to imagine what is in the minds, feelings, and experiences of people who are unable to verbalize, or who speak another language. Teachers need to have empathy for their students; health care workers for the sick and injured; writers for their readers; and coders for users of their software.
    An empathetic person is able to vicariously experience, and thereby understand. This is a Point of View skill that can be practiced and improved. through journalling or improvising, taking the role of the other. In relationships of all kinds, engaging empathy can help to avoid misunderstandings and hurt feelings.
For Yourself
    In the so-called New Age field, empathy plays a role in both the work and the results of the work. I can most certainly empathize with a client who is looking for information about past (or parallel) lives, and how they have informed a current situation. Equally the need to understand current conditions, or to explore possible courses of action are states of mind to which I can relate.
    When answers are granted and information is revealed, I have seen people empathize deeply with others who share their life journey, comprehending the value of the spiritual support, and positioning themselves to offer as well as receive it. 
    The greatest barrier to empathy is ego. When being right is the priority, then finding solutions may remain out of reach. A focus rooted in winning  may lead to imposing a worldview on others.
     Without an attitude of openness and collaboration there can be no building of successful relationships. Without relationship, we can become isolated and disconnected.
     Seeking connexion is an act of self-love. Seeking connexion with the Spirit which animates us can open our lives to massive self-knowledge. I can empathize with that.

     I have been supporting clients through the change and growth that comes with self knowledge since the 1980s.
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