How Much Do You Feel Empathy for Others?

Expand relationships by asking questions about the meaning of life

Note: If you are new to this feature of the Support4Change Blog, here are some suggestions for exploring questions for yourself and also for your family and friends.


When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives mean the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand. The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares. ― Henri J.M. NouwenOut of Solitude: Three Meditations on the Christian Life

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The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen. ― Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

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Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. ― Leo Buscaglia

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Resolve to be tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving, and tolerant of the weak and the wrong. Sometime in life you will have been all of these. ― Lloyd ShearerWalter Scott’s Personality Parade


We see a child being bullied and come to his rescue because we have been bullied and know what he feels. We may find it a bit harder to connect with the feelings of someone who is experiencing something that we have not.

However, we don’t need to be a battered wife to know she is experiencing pain. We, too, have been in situations that seemed to have no easy exit. So as we open our hearts, we know the human condition provides us with many chances to feel compassion and empathy with others.

Today there is only a simple question to help you recognize how much you are able to understand and share the feelings of another. 

Explore What Quality You Think Makes Us Human by Asking Yourself This Question

It can take a lot of effort to try and understand people who are very different from me and sometimes it’s easy to just dismiss someone as “different” and move on. Other times I want to really get to know a person who seems boring or difficult.

To what extent do I genuinely attempt to get inside “the very shell” of another person so that I might truly understand them?

What have you learned about yourself in exploring this question?
What have you learned about your friends if they have explored this question with you?

What Do You Worry Most About?

THIS POST ORIGINALLY APPEARED ON THIS BLOG IN OCTOBER 2014. DUE TO A SERVER FAILURE, IT WAS LOST. IT IS REPOSTED HERE.


Expand relationships by asking questions about managing emotions

Note: If you are new to this feature of the Support4Change Blog, here are some suggestions for exploring questions for yourself and also for your family and friends.

Worry gives a small thing a big shadow. —Swedish Proverb

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One of ten “symptoms of inner peace,” which include frequent acts of smiling and a tendency to think and act spontaneously rather than on fears based on past experience, is: “an inability to worry (this is a very serious symptom!). — Source Unknown

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What Makes Us Human

Deepen relationships by asking questions about what makes us human

Note: If you are new to this feature of the Support4Change Blog, here are some suggestions for exploring questions for yourself and also for your family and friends.

The most satisfactory definition of man from the scientific point of view is probably Man the Tool-maker. —Kenneth Page Oakley
…..[Note: He wrote this well before we observed some animals making and using use tools, but man definitely has the corner on complex tools.]

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For him the tragedy of Homo sapiens is that the least fit to survive breed the most. —John Fowles

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Some Bodies in Bathings Suits Don’t Care What You Think

September 22, 2014

Expand relationships by asking questions about how we compare our bodies with the bodies of others

Note: If you are new to this feature of the Support4Change Blog, here are some suggestions for exploring questions for yourself and also for your family and friends.


Three times a week I get in the pool at my retirement community and do aquatic aerobics with a bunch of old women. With the exception of one woman whose genes came wrinkle-free, our bodies sag. We have moles and brown spots. The underside of our upper arms are flabby. I won’t even mention the shape, or lack thereof, of our breasts.

In other words, three times a week I can compare how my body looks and how the bodies of six or so other women look in bathing suits. It ain’t a pretty sight — neither mine nor theirs. However, I am getting better at not comparing myself with others quite so much. It involves an acceptance of the reality of time.

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Questions for You and Your Friends: Living Your Values

August 1, 2014
 Deepen relationships by
asking questions about the meaning of life

Ask Questions and Explore Answers

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 Claude Lorrain’s The Abduction of Europe
This group of questions revolves around what I might call “convenient ethics.” We can be quite incensed when someone steals a painting from a gallery, but we might overlook where stolen paintings are exhibited.

For example, several years ago a writer to the Los Angeles Times wanted readers to boycott the Los Angeles County Museum of Art’s exhibit of “Old Masters, Impressionists and Moderns” because a major part consisted of paintings seized from two Russian collectors after the Communist Revolution.

He felt museums should not profit from stolen property and was sure LACMA wouldn’t show paintings seized from private owners by Saddam Hussein or Hitler. It would realize such an exhibit would be morally wrong.

Then there is the matter of sharing files of copyrighted material on the Internet. I’ll bet most of us have done some of that at one time or another.

The questions below explore just a few of the ways we can find ourselves in conflict with what we claim to believe when it is convenient to do so.
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