Resolutions for Empathy

January 7, 2014 — Leave a comment

While different cultures around the world observe the New Year in a variety of ways and at various times, they almost all share the idea of taking stock. New Year is often marked by reflecting on the passing year and celebrating a new opportunity for better things to come. Many of us in the West, who use the Gregorian calendar to bring in the New Year in January, make resolutions.

I usually use September and the start of a new school year as my time to set goals. However, this year, I’ve decided I need another occasion to be mindful. So I am joining the millions who have made recent resolutions. In 2014 I want to leave my unkind baggage behind back in 2013.

So I have resolved to try and let go of attitudes that weigh on me and put others down. I will strive to:

  1. Let go of all thoughts that judge people as “other.” Especially if there is fear in that judgment.
  2. Let go of all thoughts that categorize something as normal. If there is a normal there has to be an abnormal. How do you think it feels for someone to be categorized as abnormal? And why would I do that to someone?
  3. Let go of the fear of those who are different from me, especially if my fear is because I am unfamiliar with that difference and so I am making appalling assumptions because of my own anxiety.
  4. Let go of thinking that my perspective is the only one. I will try and remember that the globe has 360 degrees of perspectives.
  5. Let go of thinking there’s a right and wrong way to do things or to see the world. Enjoy the contrast and celebrate the diversity and richness of life.
  6. Let go of listening to only a limited range of stories. I will seek out the biggest window, or stories that are outside my comfort zone that I can find.
  7. Let go of anger towards those who hold perspectives I have struggled to understand yet find hard to embrace.

Seven resolutions seems like it should be doable. But unconscious messages can sneak up on you. So I know it will be a fight. One worth having, but a battle nonetheless. Wish me luck and feel free to hold me accountable.


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