A drug addict once explained the difference between sympathy and empathy. He said, ‘You can never feel anything but sympathy for me and what I need is empathy.’ The he said, ‘Empathy is the capacity to feel my pain in your heart.’ To be ‘socially tone deaf’ * can lead to a life littered with broken relationships. Develop the capacity to pick up subtle verbal, tonal and non-verbal signals from others. Learn also the ability to send out soothing, nurturing signals to others, thus creating a positive interpersonal field.
Unlike in a magnetic field, where positive attracts negative and vice versa, a positive, emotional and spiritual field, attracts positive people and events and, in addition, transforms even a normally negative person into a positive one.
‘How can I develop this skill?’ I ask. ‘Practice working with people and listening to them with the same attitude as you would a beloved child, or respected parent. Your word, tone, your very glance should be completely focused on the person. Don’t dilute the interaction by playing with your Blackberry, talking on your cellphone or fiddling with your laptop. When you are with someone, pay complete attention. Anything less will only elicit a lukewarm response. Those who can create positive fields around themselves attract and build lifetime relationships.’