Tuesday, 16 February 2016
Helping Another Through Real Empathy - a Lesson From a Vet and a Pit Bull Terrier (Video Included)
It's something we should all be doing. It's something we all say we'd all like to do more of. Really - it's something we need to have! But at the same time, it's something we so often lack the ability to do. We see another hurting - or going through a hard time, and we want to know the best way of helping them. Very often we might even misunderstand what the other is feeling or why we can't seem to get things right in helping them. They seem sheltered and often can't seem to get out of the trouble they find themselves in. What can we do to help? How can we help?
This beautiful and meaningful clip shares a story that we can all internalise and use in practice. It's the story about a pit bull that found herself abandoned. Brought in to Granite Hills Animal Care (see full article here) Dr Andy Mathis did not know what to do with the sick looking animal. Would putting it to sleep be the solution (as so many of us think when we see another in distress too(!)) or could he do something to save the animal's life? After much consideration the doctor thought up a plan! As the animal was not eating, he entered the cage together with her, prepared for himself his own meal in similar looking crockery - and ate together with her. Once she saw him eating, she began to eat as well. It's really a simple story - with not much more needing to be added...
The sick animal is apparently doing much better already and it looks like she will recover from her ordeal.
That's really what empathy is all about. When the other is suffering, it is not enough to offer, to suggest ideas, to even present "practical" alternatives. What it takes - is getting into the cage with the other, truly experiencing what they are going through, and then showing them a way out. In this way, everyone stands to gain. The other will value the kindness, follow on - and succeed, getting out of the rut holding them back from getting on with whatever they should be getting on with. As for the helper - they gain in becoming just that more sensitive, that much more honoured and respected - and no doubt will feel a tremendous sense of joy at helping the other to get well again!