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Importance of empathy in communication, especially in this time of digital transitioning

Read more for presentation and transcript from Wayne Millard's at masonsConnect #sharingFreemasonry - in summary, empathy is putting yourself in another person's shoes to understand how they're feeling, what they're doing, and to be aware of the feelings and emotions of the other person.

Following is a summary of the transcript from Wayne Millard's presentation at the masonsConnect sharing Freemasonry follows. To watch on YouTube visit https://youtu.be/6Axz41JQIs8

I was pleased when you you asked me to do a little chat on the importance of empathy particularly in the in the current or the digital age. I work in sales and I see a lack of empathy and empathy every day. As a salesperson we think we know what empathy is.

That's what my talk is about today what is empathy. You can actually research empathy and a lot of experts have got a lot of different ideas about what empathy is. Basically speaking it's to understand and share the feelings of another person.

Empathy is putting yourself in another person's shoes to understand how they're feeling, what they're doing, and to be aware of the feelings and emotions of the other person.

I spoke to someone yesterday in my district at about empathy and he recalled to kill a mockingbird a book he read when he was going through school and that was a perfect example of of empathy without going to the story. Empathy is putting yourself in another person's shoes to understand how they're feeling, what they're doing, and to be aware of the feelings and emotions of the other person.

Compassion generally follows on from empathy and that's when we we act on those feelings and thoughts. When we do that when we do it as Freemasons it is with a desire or an expression of help. One thing to make clear empathy is not sympathy, so it shouldn't confuse the two. Sympathy is when you feel sorry for someone or pity and you express that sorrow.

Generally comments like "oh look don't worry about it, everyone goes through that" is sympathy that's and not empathy. Empathy is stronger than sympathy. How do we practice empathy is what they teach you in all the sales courses we listen to where we are advised to:

  1. Share how we feel we show gratitude that the person's actually opened up to us and shared.
  2. Show interest in what they're talking about.
  3. Encourage and be supportive.

Does this sort of sound familiar? I see a few people nodding their heads and the reason for that is in Freemasonry we teach empathy and compassion.  We do it every every meeting. We do it in our ritual in our ceremonies and degree ceremonies.

We face in these days with ever rising use of technology in this digital era becoming more distant from each other, and that's so true at the moment with the covet situation. We're becoming more numb to our surroundings and to other people's feelings, and their happiness, their sadness. We see that in problems that we see experience with poor online behaviour, cyber bullying, poor comments and social media posts. Much of this can be attributed to a lack of empathetic understanding where on social people can say what they like online with little fear of repercussion  and without having to see another person's emotional feedback. Some individuals even go further and feel emboldened to speak hatefully and that's a real issue.

As more of our conversation moves into digital space we're losing that ability to pick up on, to experience or practice empathy.

In face-to-face in-person interaction or meetings we can we can effectively communicate how we're feeling. We can with the other person actually interpret the signals that we're giving. Think about lodge meetings and how important that the physical lodge meetings are with face to face, eye contact and body language signals where a lot of communication as far as empathy is concerned is through non-verbal cues. Physical cues are where we get an understanding of the other person is feeling through their eyes, facial expressions and so forth unfortunately. As more of our conversation moves into digital space we're losing that ability to pick up on, to experience or practice empathy.

We not born with empathy, we are taught empathy through examples by our parents and mentors. In Freemasonry, we've got great mentors and a great educational tool.

Watch the video for more - https://youtu.be/6Axz41JQIs8

Very interested in comments about how we can in practice practice empathy in communication especially in this time of digital transitioning.

Feel very welcome to share thoughts and comments here.

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