I have talked about forgiveness a lot here at Spiral Revolutions, but it was not until recently that the key in learning how to forgive came into focus for me. The trick to unlocking it is through empathy and understanding where your fellow human beings are coming from. So first, let’s take a look at the meaning of empathy.
Before diving into the nitty gritty of the perspective I would like to share with you today, let’s take a look at what Dictionary.com has to say about the word: Empathy.
As you can see, it is the psychological identification with experiencing of what others are, or another way of wording it is putting yourself in someone else’s shoes. This has always been a stronger skill for me, being able to see the story from the other party’s perspective, to know and understand their journey to this point.
Putting Yourself in Their Shoes
This is something that I think a good many of us overlook in life and it is of vital importance that we stop that bad habit. We are all on a journey through life here on Earth and understanding that will allow you to learn how to see other’s perspectives and to have a better feeling of where they are coming from.
So how do you put yourself in someone else’s shoes? Well first off it comes through respecting them as a person and knowing that their journey has led them up to this point, whatever it may be. This practice aligns closely with the Golden Rule and respecting others as you would expect that they respect you. So let’s take a look at a couple steps to help you:
- Listen – This is an extremely important first step in being able to see the other party’s perspective, you just have to listen to it. Allow the person to tell you their story and pay attention to the details.
- Respect – Listen to the story as a whole, don’t interrupt unless you are asking pertinent questions to their story.
- Empathize – As they tell you the story, imagine that you are them or the things that happened to them instead happened to you.
Step three is where the magic is all at. By putting yourself in their position or imagining the story happening to yourself, you will be able to have empathy for their journey and where they are at in life. This will help you to understand why they have made the decisions that they have made or why they are feeling the way that they are. Now you have the key.
Key to Forgiveness
With the key in hand, now you are primed and ready to be much more forgiving in your life. When you can put yourself in the other party’s shoes and know and understand where they are coming from, it makes forgiveness all the easier to accomplish. Let’s take a look at an example:
When my youngest had first started school I remember him telling me about a kid in his class that was having a hard time with school. He cried a lot and was being picked on by the other kids. Alex didn’t like the kid because of the way that he acted too.
We discussed the situation and I told him that he needs to forgive that behavior and show him some compassion. Try to understand why he is having a tough time and help him to get past it instead of not liking him for the way he was acting. I also encouraged him to speak up in his defense if other people were picking on him as bullying would only make things worse.
Fast forward a few years and now the two are best friends and love to hang out and play. The both embrace their weird side (yeah… my apple didn’t fall far from the tree) and have a lot fun together. The bullying vanished and now they are just going through a more normal school life.
To see a young boy sit and really think about all of the cause and effects going on to create the situation that he was in was just tremendous for me. To hear him tell me that he understands what I am saying and to be able to apply that knowledge to help him and those around him was just very humbling for me.
This was not my first rodeo with helping my children in dealing with bullies though. My oldest son who is 11 years ahead of youngest also had many issues with bullies in school. We had very similar discussions when he was younger and I was able to help him progress through it in much the same way. I still remember him telling me that people stopped picking on him after following through with what we had discussed.
Why is this All Important?
Again, to get back to the basics of it, it is because we are all on a similar journey in that we were born and are living here on Earth. Sure the stories are different for each of us, but that is also the reason that it is so important. We all need to respect that we are on our journey to learn and elevate ourselves to a higher plane of existence. We all have karma that we need to burn off, whether that is from this life or prior ones, it does not matter.
What does matter though is that we break the vicious cycles that many of us are trapped in today. The violence and hate in the world will not go away until we learn how to empathize and forgive each other. In doing so we break the cycles and give ourselves the opportunity to start fresh.
Forgiving others also helps in the release of “bad” karma that needs to be burned off. While you can’t always let the other party know that you forgave them, the universe knows and things will work out as needed so that we can all progress together to a higher vibration. That being said though, the less “bad” karma that we need to go through as a whole the better off we will be moving forward.
Share Your Thoughts
First please allow me to thank you for stopping by today, I hope that my content here has helped you on your journey through life. I would like to ask you to share examples from your story with us so that we can continue to build a better and more encompassing picture here. With each story added we put ourselves in a better position to help the next person that stops by.
Also, if you enjoyed the perspective that I shared here today, you might also enjoy some of the other articles that I have posted here:
- Forgiveness as a Way of Life
- Love is the Answer, Forgiveness is the Key
- Why Does Life Have to be So Hard?
- Can We Stop Bullying?
- Good Karma – Bad Karma, What is it All About?
Have a great rest of your day!
James W D