This week I found the best video I have seen in a long time. It is a beautiful illustration of the power of empathy to change the world, one relationship at a time. The movie is called validation and is a bit of a play on words – the setting points to free parking validation but the main character validates people using empathy and compliments to help them smile. I enjoyed it very much, it is very uplifting for anyone that likes to be encouraged (I don’t know anyone who doesn’t!).
I was inspired by the movie and attracted two different experiences that same day which emphasized the miraculous emotional healing that empathy can provide in relationships.
My wife Candice had been outside in the heat (yes heat, this is Phoenix in Nov) with one of our kids at a field trip with 47 1st-3rd graders that day (during her moon cycle), so she was a bit out of sorts. All the kids seemed to be asking her for things at once while she was getting dinner ready and she was trying to tell me about her frustrating day.
I really didn’t want to hear about it, but I made a conscious decision to show empathy by repeating what she had said in my own words – “You’ve been through a lot today and you just want a break, with some peace and quiet.”
Candice instantly lit up and gave me a big hug, then she didn’t say anything more about it – I was amazed!
Later while eating dinner Nickalus (who is 2) came to me crying:
Finally I got the idea – “Oh, did you bump your head?”
“Yeaaah…” (as he nodded emphatically).
“That’s a bummer.” I replied, at which point he promptly calmed down and walked away. 🙂
It was as if I waved a magic wand and mended broken hearts with my words! Incredible!
I found an interesting book yesterday which uses empathy as part of the initial steps in the advice given to help people get their ex back. If you watch the first video on the page describing the Magic of Making Up, you’ll see how empathy is used in that situation – though it goes a bit further in agreeing with the other side of an argument, but the essence of showing an understanding of their position is really empathy at work – like magic.