I asked someone one time what they were doing on an upcoming Saturday and they replied with exhaustion that it was a “really busy day.” They were “getting their haircut and going to the gym.”
There are a few moments in life when I just don’t know what to say. This was one of them.
My empathy realized this was a very busy day to this person. They were going to be out and about several hours on their day off and it was a burden. (Goodness knows I had been hoping for a day when the only thing I had to do is get my haircut and go to the gym. This was a true challenge for me not to blurt out something critical!)
And therein is the key to empathy – we must we must we must see things from the other person’s perspective. This usually takes time and effort.
When someone shares a weighty thing, listen intently and try to be them for a moment. They will appreciate your earnest effort to care and understand their struggle.