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Empathy - "I see you."​

In my last article, I asked the question: What is emphatic leadership? Empathy is also shown in the language we use...

I recently watched a TED talk and stumbled over the way Zulu's say hello. "Sawubona" (I see you.) and the answer is "Ngikhona" (I am here.) or "Jabo Sawubona" (I see you too.). In India, they say "Namaste" (I bow to the divine in you.). In the movie Avatar when greeting each other they say "Oel gnati kame".

In a philosophic meaning, your existence is recognized by another person and you don't exist on your own. That links me back to my first article "Empathy - The way forward?". Mankind has always lived in groups and the interaction in these groups is the very birthplace of empathy in human history.

Our language determines how we think, feel and behave. In some Western languages, we come closer to the meaning of "Sawubona" and we say "How are you dear?". So only JUST similar, as you never ARE sad or happy, you rather FEEL sad or happy. When talking about your inner self, accuracy in wording does matter and makes a change in your behaviour. Here is how most people react: "Thank you, good." What would happen, if you say how you really "are" or feel? Let's say, you had really great day and you feel overjoyed. Or you had a really bad day and feel frustrated.

And lastly in many languages our "Hello" simply means hello. As an example, in my mother tongue, we say "Grüezi". Sounds sweet, but has no deeper meaning. Maybe we should invent our own new wording...

And then there are other ways to truly "see" others than over the language. In coaching, I use all 5 senses. There is a very logical neuro-psychological reason for this.

Talking is silver, and doing is gold.

It's not enough just to talk. This only takes place in the cognitive area and it reaches our motivation center less well. But when we experience something, it stays with us and we really understand it. Because only when we understand something emotionally do we move towards a goal. This can be done easily with pictures or we can use our bodies. The latter is, by the way, a wonderfully effective tool for all sorts of difficult situations - from nervousness before presentations to motivation to achieve goals. Plus, we always have the body with us and it costs absolutely nothing.

You are very interested in the topic and want to start your first step? Then dive into one of the empathy online challenges:

or contact me for a short meet & greet conversation:


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