Have you tried using any of the insight and techniques for growing trust and sincerity? How did it go?
I tried the exorcising insight of basic empathy on the level that every human being is 'similar' in a base way.
In this way, walking past a number of relative stranger in the street the other day, I decided to mentally wish them well. Looking them in the eye if they looked, acknowledge them, and say hello.
The effect was quite amazing I think. The majority of people acknowledged me and responded positively to me.
I did actually have a nice sense of well-being and connection. This was with parents of children who go to my my children's school, most of whom I haven't really met, but have seen around. A great sense of community belonging could be a way of describing it.
Try empathic listening - how did it go?
This was a bit more difficult I think, but the rewards are quite substantial if done sincerely.
Listening empathically to my wife seemed to help clarify both our feelings around a topic. The motivations and personal investment behind our statements became clarified, and mis-interpretations were reduced, while the weight of meaning behind statements was increased.
I would say that I would only feel comfortable doing this with someone I know relatively well, and that they felt safe with me and vice-versa.
How did you find the loving kindness meditation?
This was quite a revelation really. The extending of wishing well-ness to yourself, and then loved ones, to people we don't like and then to all sentient beings, is quite mind blowing if you think about it.
It's like extending your personal boundaries, or sense of self, to the whole world.
Complete the political awareness exercise here in writing.
At a previous workplace, I wanted some extra training informally in a particular skill from an experienced colleague. I approached them, and they were happy to show me some techniques. However, another colleague, who had requested similar training from our manager, got the pip because they had been stalled in receiving training. They complained to our manager, and my 'informal' training was stopped.
I felt hurt and sad that this other colleague couldn't talk with me directly, and had to go through other circuitous means, ultimately undoing a sense of initiative and a process of self improvement.
The other person's perspective
They've been waiting for ages for some specialist training, and have been getting rebuffed for the last year by our manager. Then this guy Uili comes in to the team for six months and gets the training they've been after, informally, just like that. That seems unfair, and it feels like he's jumped the queue.
Doing this, I can see my former colleague's POV (point of view now). Being able to do so seems to take away much of the sense of personal malice I felt that person had against me.
My experience of personal pain, or emotional pain, towards the situation, and the colleague, feels reduced. Nice.
Any other musings?
This technique of pre-priming, and post-event evaluating, will be very handy with treating people I work and live with with respect and kindness. Any anxiety about how people may feel towards me feels insubstantial compared to the will to wish them well.