Fall Into Hope by Giving Empathy

Fall into hope by giving empathy

Can I see another’s woe,
And not be in sorrow too?
Can I see another’s grief,
And not seek for kind relief?

Can I see a falling tear,
And not feel my sorrow’s share?
Can a father see his child
Weep, nor be with sorrow filled?

Can a mother sit and hear
An infant groan, an infant fear?
No, no! never can it be!
Never, never can it be!
– William Blake

Story: David Schumaker
David and I met through a mental health speaker’s training. Bill Delaney, David, and I all attend the same monthly meeting. David’s story is unique since depression came about as a by- product of a physical illness. When he was in middle school, he was diagnosed with a brain tumor. It had to be removed or death would ensue. The surgery left him unable to walk and talk. Extended therapy was needed to grow back his ability to perform routine tasks.
David’s originally planned on a career in architecture. But the surgery damaged his short-term memory. He stayed with his original educational aspirations and obtained a master’s degree. Employment became a challenge due to impediments in his memory and job cut backs. He became severely depressed after losing his job. He was fortunate to have contacted a counselor who encouraged him to accept his limitations. Today, he works as a counselor to autistic children.
Moral of the Story:
David has learned to accept his situation. After listening to his story for the third time, I saw something else in him. In my view, he has the incredible gift of empathy. Who is better fit to deal with autistic children than someone who knows how unique minds work? Who is better equipped to deal with special needs children than someone who has had special challenges? And who is better suited to guide autistic children through their emotional mazes than someone who has lost and regained his abilities?
David, you are a hero.
Action Plan:
The next time someone comes to you with a need, put yourself in their experience. Try to imagine what they are going through. Above all, do not criticize anyone for their feelings. Emotions are not good or bad. They just are there.
Practical Application to Your Life:
Take stock of where you stand with this. Do you listen empathically to your own needs? Do you extend compassion to yourself? Do you lend a sympathetic ear to others? Do you criticize others for feeling afraid, sad, or angry?

Weekly Take Away:
Find success through compassionate living, acting, and listening. Learn to extend empathy.You will be richly rewarded.

 

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