Empathy Depends on You!

I was wandering through the aisles of Target in search of, well, ahem, “feminine product.” I came upon a short, gray-haired older gentleman, wearing a trench coat, hat, and round spectacles. He was standing in front of a display of incontinence undergarments, motionless, with tears in his eyes. He was just standing there, looking at all the different options, and sad, presumably, about his need for that particular product. Well, the feminine stuff was on a nearby shelf, so I grabbed a great big package of maxi pads. I walked over to the man but didn’t say a word. I held up the package of pads in front of him, pointed at it, and shrugged my shoulders as if to say, “It’s OK, it’s life, we all have to deal with its unpleasant side effects.” A big smile crept across his face.  With new found resolve, he looked back at the display, took a deep breath, and grabbed a package off the shelf. We nodded at each other and went our separate ways.

Little acts of empathy can have a big impact in everyday situations. At Workplace Oasis, I speak of the role of empathy in building a strong foundation of relational support at work. What little thing can you do today to show someone that you understand and care about his or her circumstances? It only takes a moment to step out of your own head space to be present for someone else. So show empathy when given the opportunity–people are depending on you!

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