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The Most Important Skill For Interacting With People

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posted on Aug, 29 2018 @ 04:46 PM
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I came across an article that really moved me and I wanted to share it.

Every day, in our daily lives, we encounter multitudes of people and we forget, because of our egos or our own problems, that each person has their own life, and their own set of problems that they are dealing with. Most of us can probably remember the first time we came to this realization -- I was in early elementary school and I still remember that moment. I talked to my dad about it later that day. I was excited.

There is a word for this feeling, this realization:



sonder

n. the realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own—populated with their own ambitions, friends, routines, worries and inherited craziness—an epic story that continues invisibly around you like an anthill sprawling deep underground, with elaborate passageways to thousands of other lives that you’ll never know existed, in which you might appear only once, as an extra sipping coffee in the background, as a blur of traffic passing on the highway, as a lighted window at dusk.


We forget this over time and we focus on ourselves and only on ourselves, as our culture teaches us. Every man for himself. Every woman for herself. But we also forget that our actions and our words have a great impact on other lives and that we are all connected. We call each other names on these forums, and others, seemingly unaware of what that another could be going through. I have been culprit to this as well.

What skill is it that the article points to?


“When you meet someone, treat them as if they were in serious trouble: … and you will be right more than half the time.”
—Henry Eyring


Only a small percentage of the population are sociopaths and physically unable to process and understand emotions. They have a good reason for being cold or hurtful -- but that is an illness. The rest of us simply choose to act that way, because we allow ourselves to forget our own Sonder.

The following quote from the article really brought things into perspective once again.


In the book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Dr. Stephen Covey tells the story of being on a train one day. While on the train, there were two very noisy kids causing a disturbance to everyone around them. Covey noticed that the father was doing nothing about it, and after a period of restraint he approached the father. Here’s Covey’s account of the situation:

“Sir, your children are really disturbing a lot of people. I wonder if you couldn’t control them a little more?”

The man lifted his gaze as if to come to a consciousness of the situation for the first time and said softly,

“Oh, you’re right. I guess I should do something about it. We just came from the hospital where their mother died about an hour ago. I don’t know what to think, and I guess they don’t know how to handle it either.”

Can you imagine what I felt at that moment? My paradigm shifted. Suddenly I saw things differently, I felt differently, I behaved differently. My irritation vanished. I didn’t have to worry about controlling my attitude or my behavior; my heart was filled with the man’s pain. Feelings of sympathy and compassion flowed freely. Everything changed in an instant.


Empathy. Feeling what other people feel and understanding their plight through it. I feel we are sorely lacking in it these days and it just seems to be getting worse.

I hope that a few others can find a re-direction from this article. Thanks for reading.

Medium




posted on Aug, 29 2018 @ 04:57 PM
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a reply to: Kharron

I think you have offered some excellent advice!

So many times I become frustrated, especially with younger folks. Most don't know how to give a proper handshake or how to look you in the eyes while speaking. I keep having to remind myself that they probably haven't been taught these things, or that maybe they have social anxiety issues., etc. Some days it's hard to remember that everyone is dealing with their own crap.



posted on Aug, 29 2018 @ 05:02 PM
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Love this thread! Very important message!

I always try sharing this info with others. It is also good for those of us with much empathy and compassion to be reminded from time to time.



posted on Aug, 29 2018 @ 05:14 PM
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a reply to: Kharron

I love this too!

Someone mentioned that young people used to get on their nerves. Well I used to think that all old people were so grumpy and rude. I came to understand that a lot of them are in both physical and emotional pain.

I really believe we all could use a little more empathy. Imagine what kind of world we would live in if we had more.
I feel like children naturally have this, they will even feel bad when someone they don't like gets hurts. Why do we lose that. Maybe because our society is such a dog eat dog place!



posted on Aug, 29 2018 @ 05:17 PM
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Great perspective
S&F

A little compassion can go a long way as we never really know what is going on in the strangers' lives that we interact with and that how we act towards them can make their day a little better or a whole lot worse.



posted on Aug, 29 2018 @ 06:23 PM
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I was going to answer the threads question with Jujitsu, but "sonder" is very, very important, too. It is obvious that most strife would disappear if humans were trained in this way of thinking.

It is rather sad that this way of approaching other sentience is novel ...or "enlightened." It should be routine and primary school obvious.



posted on Aug, 29 2018 @ 07:07 PM
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a reply to: Kharron

What an excellent thread, thank you!



posted on Aug, 29 2018 @ 08:12 PM
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a reply to: Kharron

Very good advice.

I would also add that sincerity is very important. Dont pretend to know what someone is going through if you really dont. It comes off as cheap and fake, and people can tell.

Dont pretend to be someone just because you think thats what the person you are talking to wants.

Be honest, sincere, and try to understand where they are coming from.


edit on 29-8-2018 by Grambler because: (no reason given)



posted on Aug, 29 2018 @ 08:32 PM
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Now apply that to politics. It's the same issue. People have conservative or liberal feelings for the same reasons. People aren't "stupid" because they have opposite ideas politically than you do. They have their points of view based on their own experiences.



posted on Aug, 29 2018 @ 08:35 PM
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a reply to: Grambler

Thank you all for reading and commenting.

And yes, Grambler, sincerity is paramount, in all aspects of life, be it in business or when offering help and understanding... a shoulder perhaps. If only there was a way to turn back the cultural tide where dishonesty is slowly, but surely, becoming as acceptable as honesty is. It almost does not matter any longer.


P.S. I also have an orange bedroom. Very similar color. Love it.



posted on Aug, 29 2018 @ 08:36 PM
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Excellent.

A very wise person once said 'remember the heart when you speak to the face".

Everybody has a story.





posted on Aug, 29 2018 @ 08:41 PM
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a reply to: Kharron

Thanks!

Just to elaborate on sicnicerity.

I work with people with disabilities. You would not believe how intuitive most of the people I have worked with are.

When someone feigns an understanding with them, they know, better than I ever could.

The first and most important lesson I learned in this line of work is always be sincere.

It ok to not understand something or a situation, just be sincere about it, and like you thread is about, try to understand where they are coming from.

I still have a long way to go to perfecting that.

But I feel like anyone who comes close to that goal would be welcome by just about any person in the world.



posted on Aug, 29 2018 @ 09:54 PM
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Plowing deep kharron, how we should go through our walk with Jesus in each moment....Plowing deepest



posted on Aug, 29 2018 @ 11:44 PM
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On line it is wise to remember you could be speaking to a very young person, even a child. You could be speaking to a 99 year old or someone with mental issues like memory loss.
I find it very sad how many will call someone dumb or ignorant or uneducated because of a spelling error or a grammar error.
You could be looking at someone who can hardly see the keyboard.

Strangers we don't know we quickly judge over this and that or simply because they think or believe different than ourselves.

We like quiet and no animals all over making noise and messes. Our neighbor loves noise and animals 9 dogs, goats and so on. They love what they love we love what we love, no changing that either we accept or find people just like ourselves to live next to.



posted on Aug, 30 2018 @ 02:20 AM
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a reply to: Kharron

I'm not sure why I feel like this is somewhat related, but I do. I work in a highly emotionally charged environment. I joke sometimes that we can see more emotion in a span of 5 minutes than most other people will see in a year of their lives. It's true too. Happiness, anger, fear, sadness, anxiety and just about every human emotion there is. It can be numbing sometimes (especially after 30 years). The odd part is we usually only get a few moments glimpse of any single person or group of people.

A few weeks ago I was walking to a meeting and observed this stunningly attractive woman. But she was completely consumed by grief of some sort. You could tell this was not some ordinary type of grief, but rather something very profound and life changing. It was like she wanted to just climb out of her skin (don't really have a better way to describe it). I had several minutes of exposure to her on a train, long enough that I felt like I truly wanted to see if I could comfort her somehow. But she was a complete stranger, and it wouldn't have been appropriate to intervene.

In that moment, something struck me like never before. I realized that even though there was this strong connection of empathy for her, as I stepped off the train I realized I would never see her again. I would probably never see her, or anyone in her family, or anyone she ever knew. I don't know how to describe it really, it was like this powerful thought. Here was a life, a person, who lived in a world I knew nothing about, no names, nothing. In the span of 3-4 minutes I went from wanting to make a moment of her life better, to knowing I had seen this person for the last time in my (or her) existence. It was weird, that feeling. It was like being so close, and then suddenly so distant, all in a flash of a moment.

When I stepped off the train I looked around and suddenly every single person I looked at was essentially the same situation, I would likely never see any of these same people again...ever.

Now, you could walk down any street and maybe think the same thing of a passing stranger, but this was somehow different, not because of her particularly, but more because of my own revelation of sorts. And, I think part of the power of the moment was because of the emotionally charged environment I referred to initially (and it is VERY much that).

Again, I'm not sure why I felt this relevant here, but I believe somehow it is.



posted on Aug, 30 2018 @ 03:11 AM
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you are always part of their reality. They will smell and sense you even if you cant do the same for them. they say love is a two way path.



posted on Aug, 30 2018 @ 08:24 AM
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a reply to: Flyingclaydisk

This may be one of the most relevant posts about.. our human condition.. I've ever read.
Absolutely beautiful. A thoughtful and insightful epiphany. I read it twice.



posted on Aug, 30 2018 @ 08:51 AM
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originally posted by: Kharron
a reply to: Grambler

Thank you all for reading and commenting.

And yes, Grambler, sincerity is paramount, in all aspects of life, be it in business or when offering help and understanding... a shoulder perhaps. If only there was a way to turn back the cultural tide where dishonesty is slowly, but surely, becoming as acceptable as honesty is. It almost does not matter any longer.


P.S. I also have an orange bedroom. Very similar color. Love it.





Kharron, you are so right in your assessment. I keep operating under the premise that most people value and expect honesty and it really is not true, at least not in my experience. As long as most people are getting what they want from an interaction, they don't really care. On the other hand, it they feel shorted in an interaction, then they might sight dishonesty as a problem, not on principle but because of their personal loss in the interaction.
edit on 30-8-2018 by pointessa because: (no reason given)



posted on Aug, 30 2018 @ 09:05 AM
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originally posted by: Flyingclaydisk
a reply to: Kharron

I'm not sure why I feel like this is somewhat related, but I do. I work in a highly emotionally charged environment. I joke sometimes that we can see more emotion in a span of 5 minutes than most other people will see in a year of their lives. It's true too. Happiness, anger, fear, sadness, anxiety and just about every human emotion there is. It can be numbing sometimes (especially after 30 years). The odd part is we usually only get a few moments glimpse of any single person or group of people.

A few weeks ago I was walking to a meeting and observed this stunningly attractive woman. But she was completely consumed by grief of some sort. You could tell this was not some ordinary type of grief, but rather something very profound and life changing. It was like she wanted to just climb out of her skin (don't really have a better way to describe it). I had several minutes of exposure to her on a train, long enough that I felt like I truly wanted to see if I could comfort her somehow. But she was a complete stranger, and it wouldn't have been appropriate to intervene.

In that moment, something struck me like never before. I realized that even though there was this strong connection of empathy for her, as I stepped off the train I realized I would never see her again. I would probably never see her, or anyone in her family, or anyone she ever knew. I don't know how to describe it really, it was like this powerful thought. Here was a life, a person, who lived in a world I knew nothing about, no names, nothing. In the span of 3-4 minutes I went from wanting to make a moment of her life better, to knowing I had seen this person for the last time in my (or her) existence. It was weird, that feeling. It was like being so close, and then suddenly so distant, all in a flash of a moment.

When I stepped off the train I looked around and suddenly every single person I looked at was essentially the same situation, I would likely never see any of these same people again...ever.

Now, you could walk down any street and maybe think the same thing of a passing stranger, but this was somehow different, not because of her particularly, but more because of my own revelation of sorts. And, I think part of the power of the moment was because of the emotionally charged environment I referred to initially (and it is VERY much that).

Again, I'm not sure why I felt this relevant here, but I believe somehow it is.



I think your post shows the power of living in the present moment with all the clarity and openness you can muster.



posted on Aug, 30 2018 @ 08:14 PM
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a reply to: Flyingclaydisk




In the span of 3-4 minutes I went from wanting to make a moment of her life better, to knowing I had seen this person for the last time in my (or her) existence.


You may have missed a moment where it could have been life-changing. I had the same sort of thing happen with a police officer in our town but I saw him having lunch nearly every day and felt the pain coming from him. I wanted to go over and sit down and say what is it?
It turned out it was in the newspaper when his little boy died of kidney failure and did not get a donor organ.
I would have liked to have been checked for compatibility I would gladly have given the little guy a kidney.
I have missed opportunities in life several times I know of that may have changed someones life or mine profoundly all because we are afraid of rejection or anger.



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