The dangers of having empathy…

understandI saw something really important this morning.

One of my students is planning to build a business that he can do while working for a big corporation full time.

He knows what he wants to do. He knows why he wants to do it. He has the skills: he is good at it. If he gets a client: the client will be happy.

But... having a product, a service, is one thing. Selling it is another thing.

To sell anything doesn't need you to be good at doing the service, or creating a good product.

Selling is a whole other business.

You either need a partner who can sell anything, or you need to become good at sales. Not easy.

Why? Because to sell anything, an idea, a relationship, intimacy, sex, going on vacation... anything, you need to be able to be in the other person's head and speak from there.

Now, why is this a challenge?

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72209199da6c2bb0c46ed4e4fd7f50c1Because we are not equipped for that. Being able to speak from another's head is a set of capacities that most humans don't have. Empathy is just one of those...

When I wrote the article "you live a world of your own design" I didn't have one person to say: oh, wow... I am starting to see why I am not able to get along with X... or something like that.

Instead, it wasn't heard, or when heard, was interpreted that there is something you need to fix about yourself.

Weird, I thought, but I should have thought: of course. Even to get it you need the capacity to be able to be over there with the other person.

The same exact capacity that makes it possible for you to sell something the other person wants or could want.

For most of us, to be able to see what someone else wants, we need to do a lot of research, and even then, we'll hear it through ourselves, or don't hear it at all... Or alternatively, the "prospect" doesn't know what they want.

The minimum capacity you need to have is empathy... and as I have said before, empathy tends to turn off, because the world is so pretentious. The option, for most people, is schizophrenia or turn empathy off.

You could say that my work became possible once I stopped resisting two people. Myself, and the person I was connected to, felt his feelings, his emotions, his attitudes.

It took me years to make peace with it. And, very important, connecting consciously, not unconsciously.

Now, I spend most of my time alone.

Whenever I have a face to face, the visual and the emotional don't match, and I have to choose... or risk feeling schizophrenic.

If I can close my eyes, or look somewhere else instead of looking at the person I am around, I am able to track the "real" person they are trying to hide.

But if it is not safe to close my eyes or look away... The inner tension becomes so exhausting, I have to spend the rest of the day recovering.

This is, often, you don't see me writing an article, on some days: I am in recovery.

Now, how does this relate to this guy who is trying to start a business, and sent me to his website?

Because he works at a corporation, because he is married, you can be certain that his empathy, the capacity, turned off.

You have to go along to get along... and with empathy working, it is near impossible.

But to sell effectively, to know what is in a person's world, you need empathy.

The question is: can you flip it on? And luckily, the answer is yes.

Much like the capacity to see the big picture... the ability to switch back and forth between the two views, close up and from a distance, empathy is an ability that can be turned off and turned on.

You turn it on when you need it, and you turn it off when you don't, or when it would hurt you.

One of my students is autistic. He gets nearly no information visually... and he felt cut off, isolated from people.

I turned empathy on for him, and now he sees. Through empathy. He still doesn't see with his eyes... and yet he knows. And when he consults his empathy, he can relate to people. Quite a miracle... ask any autistic person... 1

So, what choices does my student with the business have?

I saw that even if you have empathy on, it is hard to access the world of another, completely. You are involved, you want to sell, you are too firmly entrenched in your own view of the world.

I saw, that because I am not him, I could suggest pointers to him, that he would never be able to think.

And I saw, that if I had someone like me to ask, I could probably double my sales... I'd like that.

I saw that I could address some of the issues that I have only addressed sporadically so far.

One of the things I have seen every single person struggles with is their body.

What to eat, how to eat, when to eat, how to get movement into their life without giving up their life.

running-wheelI have had success with this myself, so I think I am going to create a "thread" of articles on sharing how I got to eat the way I eat, sleep the way I sleep, so you get a second opinion.... not just mainstream that put you on the running wheel that took you nowhere.

Footnotes

  1. Lots of kids turn out to be autistic... they would definitely experience less isolation if their parents asked me to turn empathy the capacity on for their kid. If you know anyone with autistic kids, or with Asperger's syndrome, I'd love to talk to them.

Author: Sophie Benshitta Maven

award winning architect, magazine publisher, transformational and spiritual coach and teacher, self declared Avatar

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