This week there were two main instances where I used empathy to reflect and understand what there other person was feeling. The first was last Sunday when, after I had asked two club members to work together to complete a SolidWorks rendering of a project our club is working on for a funding application that I am writing, and even after following up multiple times, no one had done it. Since I don’t know SolidWorks, I had no way to do it it myself, and the funding application that I needed it for was due Monday. I was stressed about not being able to complete it. This funding application is one of my main projects in this club, and what I had been focusing most of my club time on, and how could they not understand that?? But I chose to use empathy and I thought about how this application was not one of their main focuses in the club, or less so, their life right now. Using empathy, I realized that they were just as busy as I was, if not more, and I had put one more thing on their plate. I could understand that they chose to do other things instead of what I needed, because this wasn’t nearly as important to them as it was to me. This helped dissipate my frustrations toward them, and so when they did complete it and get it to me Monday afternoon, minutes before the deadline, I was much more appreciative of the time they spent, rather then expectant of the final project and irritated that it was so late.
Another time I felt that I had learned from using empathy was on Friday when I was asking my brother to let me use our shared car to go up to the Bay area to interview with an accounting firm for an internship. As usual, he did not want me to take the car because then he would be without a car. I was frustrated because this is something important to me, and for the most part I get around just fine without a car, and I was sure that he could be fine for one weekend. When I took a step back and used a little empathy, I could see that he doesn’t like using public transportation not because of money, but because of its cost of time to him. He values his time highly, and my use of the car would cause him to waste his valuable time to get around. While I certainly don’t appreciate this, I understand it better, and I know that it is valid for him to feel that way.
In both of these situations, using empathy helped alleviate the negative feelings toward the situation, and realize that while my personal concerns matter to me, they may not matter nearly as much, is at all, to anyone else.