Tough is personal. It’s yours, and mine, and everyone else’s. All at the same time…
Yours is not mine. Mine can’t be yours. Theirs? It’s just not going to fit us. Because it’s so unique and personal. Tough defies definition and boundaries.
- Sally is a single working mom and she can’t afford to pay this month’s rent
- Steve is gay. He and his life partner are trying to raise an adopted son
- Bobby is addicted to crystal meth and living under the Beltway overpass
- Beth is suicidal. The bullying won’t stop
- Herb reaches for a cold one. Twists off the cap within minutes of waking
- Fred’s plant closed down after 37 years. He’s not sure how to tell his wife
- Molly and Bruce just found out. 15 year old daughter Jenny is pregnant
- I’m a 65 year old straight Cuban man. I spent 3 years in jail. I’ve got cancer
It goes on. We struggle. Stretch. Strain. Life beats the shit out of us every day.
Pressures. Pummels. Pounds.
Unrelenting, Uncaring and Unwavering in its attack.
Who’s worse off? You? Me? They? You know what? It’s not relevant.
One person’s marshmallow roast is another’s funeral pyre
I’ve come to the realization that empathy is one of the most humanistic things we can practice in this world. But is it Skill? Trait? Quality? Attribute?
Is it learned? Acquired through experience? Training? Coaching?
I am not an expert. Google it and you’ll find definitions and descriptions all over the map. But I found a description that seems to make a whole lot of sense to me. So I’m going to share it with you here. I’m using it.
And from what I have experienced — after 65 years of living, 30+ years as a Leader and Senior Executive, almost 4 years in a Federal Penitentiary, a 3 year fight with Cancer, and as a Life and Recovery Coach — is this:
It can be developed. It’s teachable. It’s acquirable.
And that’s a good thing.
Because in this world — it’s definitely and sorely needed…
“All I ever wanted was to reach out and touch another human being not just with my hands but with my heart.”
― Tahereh Mafi
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