Building Work:Life Harmony by Showing Empathy

Photo by Will Mu on

One of the natural byproducts of showing more compassion and empathy to myself is I have been learning how to do this for others.

I used to think that when people behaved toward me in a certain way that they were doing so intentionally. Whether that was to hurt me, ignore me, or insult me I would take it personally.

I’ve learned that this is not a great way to live. For the most part, it was only perpetuating the victim mentality inside of me. If you’ve never read anything on the Victim (or Drama) Triangle, I would encourage you to do so.

In its basic sense, the Victim Triangle always looks for a Rescuer to save the day, and a Villain who is ruining the day. Everything happens to you and you can have a “Woe is me” kind of attitude. This cycle continues like a spiral staircase that has no end.

That was me a long time ago. That is before I really started looking to build Work:Life Harmony for myself. Since I started focusing more on building this harmony within, I am accepting things for the way they are. 

Generally speaking, I now believe that people are good. Everyone is genuinely wanting to succeed in life and really don’t want to step on others to get there. At times, we all have different struggles we are going through that others have no idea about.

I think we are all trying to get better, to get ahead, and to generally feel good about the lives we are leading.

In Japanese, there is a word that describes a “good person” 善人 (zennin) and the good behaviors of such a person could be described as 善行 (zenko). I like to think of everyone this way. It is helpful to be able to accept people for who they are much more easily if I make this assumption.

Now when I look at others behaviors I take a pause and consider that they might have some things they are going through that is causing them to act a certain way.

This got me thinking a little bit about another Japanese word you are likely familiar with. I am not sure how many of you will notice so I will point it out. The first kanji characters in both of these words is the same kanji character that is used in the word kaizen 改善. 

This idea of betterment and getting better through the idea of kaizen has had widespread application not only to the business world but to individuals as well. 

Applying kaizen on a personal level could be thought of as working toward building zenko so you can be more of a zennin. Kaizen is all about modifying our behavior to create change for the better. The more I study kaizen the more I am inclined to believe it needs to be individualistic focused first and group (or business) focused second.

As I move further and further away from the Victim Triangle and closer to the Empowerment Triangle, the easier it is for me to see the good in others. To see the desires they have to get better. 

We don’t need to step on each other to get ahead, it doesn’t have to be a zero sum game. Just because one person is succeeding doesn’t mean that someone else has to suffer. We all can be successful we just have to see the good in others.

#kaizen #personalkaizen #empathy #compassion #worklifeharmony

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