In this world, we live by an unspoken rule. When someone asks you how you are, you have to say, “Fine” or “Good.” We know nobody really wants to hear how we are. They just ask because it’s the polite thing to do. And if we’re honest, we’re embarrassed to admit that everything isn’t peachy in our lives. But that is the system.
You know what I want to see more of? Sympathy. Understanding. Compassion. I want everyone to feel like they can tell their friends personal things without being afraid that they will turn away from them. There is always that part of you that holds back from confiding in people, even people you’re close to, because you’re afraid of what they’ll think about you.
Take a lesson from this scene in The Virginian (season 7, episode 8, Ride to Misadventure).
The Virginian (the character) seems to have this manner of trustworthiness about him that makes people feel like they can confide personal things to him. I’ve noticed this. In this one instance, after only knowing him for a couple days an outlaw’s girlfriend felt comfortable enough to tell him, the Virginian, about something really bad that happened to her when she was younger. And he was very understanding and sympathetic towards her. He offered his condolences. He made her feel like somebody cared.
So let’s do the same thing. Let’s cause people to feel like they can come to us with their heartaches, and they’ll return it by being sympathetic towards us when we seek their confidence.
Don’t just turn a blind eye. Make empathy universal.