Empathy: How We Can Be Better at Listening and Responding

09 Apr

Like many of you I am daily praying for many people. For those who are facing health issues, families with financial burdens and relationship battles and the list gets longer daily. It can be so overwhelming at times and as we empathize with others we often begin to carry their cares with us.

Sense and Sensibility
When I was diagnosed with cancer and even sometimes to this day I will come across people who find it difficult to empathize. I realize it’s usually not intentional but people speak without thinking. I have heard statements like:  

  • I don’t know how you can deal with everything you’ve been through I could never do it
  • I would never be able to deal with a spouse going through all that you went through
  • I don’t know how you do it

I realize that good health is taken for granted until you or a loved one is faced with an illness. Those of us who have dealt with illness are not looking for sympathy. Oh you poor thing good for you. I don’t know how you do it. That is the last ling we want to hear. No instead we want you to realize that illness is not a choice and anyone of us can be faced with it.

We have all made plans for our life. Like you we too are planning for career, a family, buying a home, vacations, grandchildren etc. None of us plan for illness in our lives or our family but I can tell you it’s not an end to our life. It’s a hiccup and YES it takes adjustment but it makes you a fighter and survivor. You appreciate life more than ever and you don’t take the dailies for granted. God has given me a story and with my story a responsibility to help others. I am grateful to have the Lord.

Memory Power Verse:  “A man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.” (Proverbs 16:9)    

My church recently covered a series on prayer and I wanted to share some of what I learned with all of you. Sometimes we are so challenged in life and I know it is difficult to pray or be thankful and give praise in the midst of an illness or challenge. The Lord reminded me that prayer is about seeking Him and listening not always talking/asking. The Lord knows our hearts are filled with trials and burdens for ourselves, our families and friends but we forget He never ceases to hear our prayers and His grace and love for us are limitless. We don’t need to have all of the answers but I’m grateful the Lord does.

Remember sympathy and empathy are NOT the same. Having empathy is not asking you to feel or join someone in the pain their going through but rather to validate their feelings and to realize that they are fellow human beings just like you trying to navigate through life despite the speed bumps and limitations. 

Please do more listening before responding. Instead of sympathizing with someone its best you say nothing and pray. Like the lyrics to the Ronan Keating song so wisely put it “You say it best when you say nothing at all.”

Thank you all for taking the time to read my blog. It really weighs heavy on my heart that we are all trying daily to grow to become better listeners including myself. With the summer approaching I would really like the opportunity to feature some of my readers to share their stories. Since I believe everyone has a story to tell and we can all learn from each other, I would like to invite you to write a guest blog post sharing your story and/or tips with my blogging audience. I encourage you to read through my blog posts and if your message aligns with that of Chat With Dee Dee I would be honored to hear from you. It is my desire through my blog and outreach ministry to share my survival story to help others. AND a great part of my ministry and possibly the most rewarding is meeting others and hearing their story and learning tips and advice from others. I know we can collectively learn and benefit from each other.

I want to encourage you to write to me if you need someone to share your story with and pray with (e-mail Dee Dee Click Here).


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2 responses to “Empathy: How We Can Be Better at Listening and Responding

  1. Sarah Moe

    April 11, 2011 at 3:43 pm

    Thank you for sharing your story, Dee Dee. Your strength, both in life and in faith, are an inspiration to others. I learn from you every time I “listen” to your story.

    • littledeet

      April 15, 2011 at 1:21 pm

      Dear Sarah, Thank you so much for writing to me you have really blessed me by taking the time to comment. I am so happy that the Lord is blessing and inspiring you through the stories I’m sharing. I truly feel He has given us all something to share and I am so blessed to have made some new friends along the way too. Please feel free to write me directly if you need a partner in prayer or friend to listen. Many blessings luv ~Dee Dee


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