Tag Archives: hate crimes

Prevent Genocide and Bullying: 12 Ways to Swallow an Empathy Pill

23 Jul

Step 2 of 6… How Only you can prevent Bullying

How many pairs of shoes lurk in your closet and under the bed?

shoes lurking in DSW aisles - heaven for the shoe obsessed

shoes lurking in DSW aisles – heaven for the shoe obsessed

I know shoe obsession goes beyond Imelda Marcos and Carrie Bradshaw.  Not me.  I am foot challenged.

So while I don’t ‘get it’, I think I understand the foot ware obsession:

It’s hard walking a mile in our own shoes:  much less imagining what it’s like to walk in someone else’s.

Unable to walk that proverbial mile in another’s shoes, allows judgment to step in.  Suddenly, it’s harder to understand those blisters, bunions, corns, callous’s that fancy heel-wearer is sporting.

If only it were as easy to try on someone else's perspective!

If only it were as easy to try on someone else’s perspective!

Empathy, like a shoe-horn, slides you into someone else’s shoes.   But I wonder: do we want that kind of pain?  Even if  it’s the pain we can relate to?

It’s easier to look at ‘them’: unemployed, lonely, fired, depressed, awkward, broke, purposely different, fat, alone –  with disdain and distance.  It’s easier to acknowledge:  “That would never happen to ME!”

Like preventing the flu, keeping (emotional) distance is a preventative measure.

If you have to get close, perhaps you think ‘they’ deserve what they got.  Certainly they didn’t work or try hard enough.

It’s like those who said the Holocaust was the Jews fault:  they were too successful, wealthy, powerful.  OR the Tutsi’s had too much power and land.  OR the Armenians were Christians, not to mention well-educated compared to the Turks.  REALLY????

To be fair, genocide doesn’t start with a massacre.  It starts with one painful soul taking his/her frustration out on someone ‘safe’.  It starts with bullying.  ‘Someone’ others also resent.  ‘A different someone’ who thinks:  rather you than me.  Someone who doesn’t want to imagine how it feels to be the recipient of bullying.

Telling someone:  “well you need to:  (man up, lose weight, stop talking about ‘xxx’, get out there more, don’t be so aggressive, be more like you, be less like you)….”

or

“get over it”   is not what that person needs.  It’s what YOU need to keep YOU safe.

Preventing genocide and bullying is understanding and protecting another’s need for safety day-to-day.

That’s why I have always believed the pharmaceutical industry has missed the mark by not creating a magical pill:  an empathy pill.  A pill to offer the judgemental and  naive, the distant and disdainful of those who don’t like and don’t fit into other’s shoes.

When fear and the need to put someone else down overtakes us, we should all learn to say (to ourselves): ‘Here, have an empathy pill.’

Here, have an empathy pill: understand ME! This isn’t about YOU!” Though I’ve always imagined empathy pills shaped like pretty little colored shoes. For men, they can be black loafers and sneakers.  Get your prescription today!

These would be bitter pills to swallow because empathy is a toughie.

Do we really want to stop judging others and give up our safety?  Here are 12 things to consider:

  1. REALIZE you probably have NO idea what the other person is feeling.  Realize that knowing they are in ‘pain’ may be enough.
  2. DON’T say, “I know EXACTLY what you are going through, because do you really?  How can you?
  3. SHARE experiences that are similar but only later, just to let them know that they are not alone.
  4. ASK how you can help to make it better.  Listening helps.  Just listening – to them – not to yourself talking about yourself.
  5. ASK if it’s okay for you to offer a suggestion.  Don’t assume you know what someone else needs.
  6. ASK questions:  even if it’s just ‘tell me more’
  7. DON’T judge.  When you judge, you bully – it’s unkindness.
  8. LISTEN for the underlying emotion, pain and/or issue which you can probably relate to.
  9. DON’T make this about you.  It’s not.   Here’s why:  you don’t know.   What you did or what you would do just doesn’t matter.   You don’t have all the facts even if you’ve been told.
  10. TELL someone you care.  Ask them to tell you more.  Ask them how you can help.
  11. MOST OF ALL: Imagine what it would be like if…  How you would feel if….  How it must be to feel such pain…  What you want from someone if you felt….  What you would want or need from someone if….
  12. STAND UP AND REMIND others to also walk in another’s shoes.  Remind people inflicting pain on others does NOT lessen their own pain.  Not really.  Not for long.
Standing up to prevent bullying is a big deal.

Standing up to prevent bullying is a big deal.

There’s room for all of us in the shoe store of life.  IF we bother to understand someone else’s heel height.

What will you do to understand someone else’s pain and perspective?

Remember:  Only YOU can prevent Bullying

Remember: Only YOU can prevent Bullying

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Celebration to Terror: Boston 4/15/13

16 Apr

Unplugged for most of tax day, news of the Boston marathon bombing popped up during a search last night.

I immediately texted my cousin (she was safe) and a runner friend in Portland who had friends running there (they were all safe).

But I knew so many weren’t safe and how scary it is to wait – and to contact a loved one, not knowing.

For all my running-addiction friends! www.guardian.co.uk

For all my running-addicted friends!
www.guardian.co.uk

When I hear news of bombings, I  shake my head, as if to reset my thoughts, or what I’ve just heard.  Like those first few moments after I heard of the Twin Towers attack, and could see them on fire from 5 miles away – it felt unreal, unimaginable.    We’re VERY lucky here in the U.S.  How do people get used to these attacks?

A bombing is a hate crime, regardless of who, when, where.  Hate can be the only reason people would want to destroy people physically and emotionally and turn one of Boston’s most famous celebrations into a shared grieving.

Once again I raise the question:  what causes people to hate so much to bomb, commit genocide, hate crimes, bullying?  As I compile 6 ways (I think) we can prevent genocide, the larger question continues to taunt:  WHY?

Do you know?  

One thing I do know, is that the memory of yesterday’s bombing will remain in people’s conscious and unconscious memories for a long time to come.  They will remember the bombing as they gather for any celebration or fair, when they get on the T, and, likely when they see someone bruised.  I hope we can all remember to be supportive and nurturing for the individuals affected – and in fact, to all of us.  Hate hurts.

Life doesn’t stop and neither should our drive to enjoy and love every minute we have.

We can never have too many reminders to hug those we love - often! www.todaystmj4.com

We can never have too many reminders to hug those we love – often!
www.todaystmj4.com

Stay safe!  Take care!

Post-Newton, Ct. – How do we save the world?

17 Dec

A young man opens fire on an elementary school – LITTLE KIDS – killing 20 kids and 6 adults.

We’re not at war, are we?

So why?

I don’t know, and, since the shooter has killed both himself and his mother, we may never know.

It’s unimaginable to think about anyone going into a school and shooting 6 year olds.

Yet it’s happened.

And I know cyberspace is filled with us bloggers writing about yet another attack.  A terrorist attack of a sort.  A hate crime of a sort.

The BBC this morning discussed the lack of care for those with mental illness.

THIS to me was the issue.  After all, it’s not guns who kill, but rather people.  And to commit a crime of this magnitude and with this focus, surely this young man had some sort of mental illness.

We can all speak up and sign petitions.  And we should.  For gun control, and especially for mental health services.

Even more, I think we can all do little things and help those with lesser pain, ‘managed’ illness, I guess you can say.    ‘Illness’ like being affected by shorter days, or less work, or depleted resources – financially or emotionally.

Especially this time of year.  While the airwaves are filled with toe-tapping music even for this dreidel-spinning, menorah-lighting Jew, and yummy delights are passed beneath our noses, this can also be a sad time for many.

Just last night someone told me she can’t wait for the season to be over.  To get back to everyday life.  ‘Regular’ life.  ‘This‘ is all too much.

I love this sign from Bija Yoga not far from Union Square in NYC.  I think it offers compassion and kindness to all of us in the midst of a struggle.
I love this sign from Bija Yoga, 20 E. 17th St., NYC. I think it offers compassion and kindness to all of us in the midst of a struggle.

We may not be able to take care of the big things, but we can take care of these little ones:

We can offer support and kindness to people feeling vulnerable.  Compassion and humorEmpathy and an ear without judgement.

How do you know who’s in pain?

YOU DON’T.

It’s just as easy to treat everyone as if they may need a little extra  cheer.

“The most basic and powerful way to connect to another person is to listen. Just listen. Perhaps the most important thing we ever give each other is our attention…. A loving silence often has far more power to heal and to connect than the most well-intentioned words.  ”
―    Rachel Naomi Remen

The holiday season is short but our memories are long.  I say let’s reach out and touch someone’s heart this season and do what we can to really bring good tidings and cheer into as many lives as possible.

That to me is creating a miracle!  A much needed miracle!   Bolstering someone’s ‘internal life’ is huge.  And sometimes all it takes is a smile or the patience and time to connect.

My friend Pam sent the link of this powerful, must read article:

now.msn.com/i-am-adam-lanzas-mother-says-mom-of-mentally-ill-son

 

We can all do one small thing with huge results!  Remember:

“Whoever saves a single life, it is as if he had saved the whole world.”

— The Talmud, Sanhedrin 4:5

If we can’t banish guns off the face of the planet, we can still save the world!

What kindness will you pass on?