Find The Common Thread

What do you have in common with the person sitting next to you?  I had an interesting conversation with two friends last night.  One was describing a situation she is dealing with at this time and my other friend and I were totally empathetic as we know exactly what she is going through.  We probably could have told her how her situation would play out before she shared most of the details.  The story will continue to play out and I came up with three possible endings, like a Choose Your Own Adventure story.  I would bet money on one of three possible scenarios as the final result, whenever it unfolds.

It struck me ironic that I was sitting at a table with two of my friends and ultimately we have or will have the same life experiences.  Now not all of our experiences are the same though we have known each other many years and have many things in common.  The specific topic of conversation prompted me to start thinking and writing.  It is amazing how different your life can be from someone else yet one single event involving sharing of stories can reveal commonalities, connections, and empathy.  It struck me funny that life can play out in similar ways regardless of who you are or where you are from.  It showed me how the microcosm in the restaurant last night is likely reflective of a much bigger picture related to human connection.  I suppose this revelation is hardly news to some; however, it really made me pause to think about empathy.  Empathy is necessary and vital to human connection and the evolution of human relationships.  To be able to relate to one another regardless of background, financial status, or location is extremely important.  If you can relate to someone, it means you know what it is like to walk in their shoes in your own pair of shoes.  If you are unable to relate based on specific experience, you are likely able to draw a parallel to some other experience in your life to feel empathy and compassion.  Granted there are times when it is really hard to relate to people.  If you meet someone with a sense of entitlement, it can be difficult to have empathy or compassion.  I deserve, I should have, I am in the center of the universe, how much can I get, etc types make it tough. However, in general, amongst the people around you, when you find a common thread that ties two or three or many people together, it is a revealing experience.  To be able to say, my experience was similar to yours, you are in good company and how can I help, is a really big thing.  It can lead to friendships, new perspective, new ideas or just the relief of knowing someone understands and can listen and be supportive.  I am sure we have all had an experience in life when we feel as if we are living in another dimension.  Talking to someone brings it all back around to normal and into perspective.

There are so many other things I can write about on this topic though it would lead me down too many different paths.  I will end this by saying, be aware of yourself and those around you.  Practice empathy and if you need guidance, start by typing “define empathy” in a Google search box.   It is a very important tool for all of us to use  and a skill can always be developed wherever life takes us.

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