Comfortable

Change is hard, complaining is easy.

That’s why we default to the latter when things get tough. For as much as we are unsatisfied with the current situation, it is a situation we know, we are familiar with, we understand. By complaining, we keep it under some sort of control and we normalize it.

Complaining is not bad per se. It can help us look inside and understand what it is we do not like. Of course, the problem starts when complaining becomes a constant state. We complain about work, the boss, about our relationships, the kids, our friends, our family, the government. That’s when we need to find the courage to get out of the comfortable spiral and actually do change.

It usually goes, change yourself first, then try to change the situation.

Not the other way around.

From a good place

You can be vulnerable by sharing your negative feelings, and you can be vulnerable by sharing the positive ones as well.

Tell that you feel happy, accomplished, in love, serene, successful, at peace, lucky, grateful, loved, accepted, at ease. You will be more exposed than you have ever been, and still be in a state of mind that will help you deal with the exposure and familiarize with it.

Training to be more vulnerable does not have to start from your deepest and darkest emotions. Go from a good place instead. It’s not necessarily easier, surely quite as effective.

Little control

You have little control on the lives of others.

The way they act, what they feel, how they behave. What they are going to do. Whether they are happy or sad. Whether they are decent human beings or treat everyone unfairly. The choices they are going to make. How they are going to react to a bad turn of events. The impact they will have in the world.

The most you can hope for is to show a way. To give kindness and presence. To make mistakes and say you are sorry. To be sad and talk about it. To be happy and share the feeling with those you love. To play, laugh, and support.

At some point, you have to let go. Before that, be the best version of yourself.

Distance and neutrality

Empathy requires distance and neutrality.

It might sound counterintuitive, and still it is an important point.

Only with distance and neutrality you can refrain from judgement and keep the bias for action at bay. Only with distance and neutrality you can avoid being overwhelmed by what the other person is feeling, to the point you might turn into a paladin for their cause (and cut out all the rest).

Empathy is acceptance.