Empathy Intervention – Elsa Bassett

This week I tried to exercise empathy in my interactions with others. I focused primarily on my relationship with my roommate. She and I do not often see eye to eye on a lot of things and I have a hard time relating to her opinion. I tend to find her judgemental and not willing to listen to other’s opinions. I decided to try and see things from her perspective this week to see if it would strengthen our relationship. As I did this exercise, I was reminded that she is a transfer student. This is her first experience living away from the home and town that she has lived in her entire life. It is also her first time living with people that are not her family. I realized that she is probably not used to living with people who have differing opinions than her, whereas I have had two years to adjust to the fact that we were all raised differently. Through placing myself in her position of being in a new place with all new people, I was able to see that she is acting this way probably as a defense mechanism as she adjusts to a whole new life.
This week taught me much about relating to others. It is so important to take a step back and recognize where people are coming from and what their worldview is. I am fairly quick to see where people are coming from and tend to look at things from the big picture, however that can sometimes be clouded for me when I am feeling attacked by another person and I end up “otherizing” them. This week helped me to take a step back and remember to empathize with those around me. I am feeling challenged to continue this exercise in everyday life.

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