I’m an ex-football player and coach. My position was running back. What’s the most important attribute of a good running back? Their eyes. Their vision. How they see the field, i.e. what’s developing in front of them, which enables them to read and react.
As with being a good running back, being a good person begins with the eyes. That is the starting point. If you want to learn to be a kinder person, you’ve got to change the way you see the world. You’ve got to become more sensitive to the needs of other people.
Hurry is an obstacle to kindness. When you’re always distracted with things to do, you don’t have time to be kind. Multi-tasking kills kindness.
So after you see it, what’s next? How do you react? By using your ears. Listen to what others are saying. Sympathize with their hurt. Then your heart will follow.
Have you ever talked to a dog? They really listen. They make you feel free to say whatever you want. They more you talk, the more they listen. They don’t ask leading questions. They don’t offer solutions. They don’t judge.
This is true sympathy. True kindness.
The next time you’re having a conversation with someone, try this. Listen like a dog. Let them talk.
The more you talk, the more advice you give, the more you try to solve their problem, the more they will wish you’ll just go away.
Sympathy meets two basic needs: the need to be understood and the need to have feelings validated. When someone is hurting, it’s comforting to know they’re not crazy, what they feel is normal and others have felt it before.
We are asked to share each other’s burdens and love others as yourself. Do you like to feel sympathy when you’re hurting? Do the same for others. Demonstrate kindness.
See it. Hear it.
More eyes and ears. Less mouth.