We see people everyday – their hair, their clothes, their faces, their shoes (maybe). We sometimes make quick judgements – he wears a suit, drives that car, works downtown so he must be X kind of person. She has red hair so she must be X kind of person. He works a 9-5 so he must be X kind of person. She just got a divorce so she must be X. She has an MBA 😉 so she must be X type of person. But do we know for sure what kind of person they are? What makes them come alive? What they truly desire? What motivates them? What keeps them up at night? What’s most important to them? Of course not…and there’s more, stick with me… Sometimes it’s easier to project our own view of the world on to others, thinking everyone is like us, should act like us, should want what we want – everyone wants a condo overlooking the water right? – So when they don’t, we think, strange. Then I remind myself – two people never read the same book or see a situation the same way and empathy is a practice. We all have different filters for taking in the world. We’re on different journey’s and at different points on our paths. We have different hot buttons. Different moral and ethical boundaries. Different reference points. Different criteria for evaluating…everything. Different ways of expressing appreciation and gratitude, of expressing anger and frustration. And in the same breath we are all alike because we all, Feel.
To be present with another person. To listen. To not judge. To seek to understand their world. To be curious. To let them be who they are, where they are right now. To accept them, fully – quirks, differences, nuances, hot messes and all. To recognize and honor them as they show up today. It’s a remarkable gift. It requires patience, compassion, attention. Oh and self-acceptance. That’s a big one.
The less we judge ourselves and accept who we really are, the easier it is to do the same for others (fabulous flaws and all). This is part of my journey as a recovering perfectionist. Acceptance.
What a feeling it is to be heard, seen, and understood by another. Like for real. Simple to do, right? Not always. Worth it? Absolutely. So dig deep. Look for the person behind the eyes, underneath the suit, behind laptop at the coffee shop, behind the smile.
Let’s let curiosity lead. You’re weird. I’m weird. We’re all a little weird. Cool.