Listening is the closest thing we get to real empathy

Change begins with empathy.

But, real empathy, it turns out, is impossible to fully experience. Impossible for any of us to know and feel exactly what someone is going through.

Because we can’t see everything they can see, know everything they know…

And yet, this is our opportunity.

If we can’t walk in someone else’s shoes we can still walk beside them. We can walk a mile, then two and then a hundred.

We can walk and resist the temptation of telling someone the right answer. Resist making blank promises that, “Everything is going to be okay.” Resist preaching, “At least…” statements. (At least you have your health. At least you have your kids.)

Our job as change-makers is to embrace this tension. To not make it go away. But instead, learn to lean into the uncomfortable silence even further.

People don’t need your advice. There are plenty of life hacks, shortcuts and tactics available. What scarce is to find someone who will merely listen.

Only listen.