I thought I was a very empathetic and compassionate person before 2020. Though the intensity of the times revealed holes and limits in my empathy, which called me to deepen my practice in Conflict Mastery.
Now, as a cloud of loneliness and burnout lays rest on our society, it reveals how genuine empathy is an antidote and, as I see it, demands a more subtle level of Conflict Mastery.
Wait, does empathy require Conflict Mastery? Yes!
Often when empathy – the ability to understand and share the feelings of another – is what is needed, our ‘conflict’ becomes our need to:
- Fix the person’s problem (let me fix this and you’ll be okay)
- Get something done (we don’t have time for your feelings now)
- Explain why their feelings are not valid (this will change, you have so much talent)
Unfortunately, all three of these common reactions bypass and negate what is going on for the other person. When this happens, it creates more isolation for the person. Much of the time, as others experience difficulties, many people don’t know the ‘right’ thing to say.
When the right thing to say is, “Tell me more about what this is like for you.”
And, listen. (avoiding the above bullets)
Often there is fear that if you open yourself up to their world, you may get trapped there too. I find the opposite to be true. When I genuinely hear someone’s experience, it validates them and shines a light for a path to a different and likely better place.
While we often think of conflict as an overtly palpable event, Conflict Mastery knows the subtle cues and responses that turn communication into artistry and subverts longer-term unintended consequences, creating more belonging and engagement. Yes, true empathy is Conflict Mastery at its finest!
The skills while simple aren’t necessarily easy and require support, practice and feedback. Newly released, Conflcit Mastery – The Black Belt Edition is now on a Virtual Video & Coaching Platform! Check it out!