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?

Where Are Your Boundaries?

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 how you get along with 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.


The other day I was eating dinner with a new resident in our retirement home when she asked some very personal questions about the health of one of the people at our table. This felt a bit intrusive, although the person did answer her question.

Nevertheless, I realized that at one time I would have been that person. Until I explored the need for boundaries, I would ask questions that would be better left unasked; and I would share personal information that I should have kept to myself.

So this week I am reminded of the difficulty we can have in drawing a line between what should be kept private and what is fair game for sharing. We all have different approaches to the subject.

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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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Questions for You and Your Friends: The Truth

September 8, 2014

Deepen relationships by asking questions about what truth means to you

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.

Spiritual empowerment is evidenced in our lives by our willingness to tell ourselves the truth, to listen to the truth when it’s told to us, and to dispense truth as lovingly as possible, when we feel compelled to talk from the heart.

—Christina Baldwin

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Let us accept truth, even when it surprises us and alters our views

—George Sands

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Last year I wrote about my friendship with Ivajoy, a friend and colleague, with whom I’ve shared many conversations on a wide variety of topics. In addition to current affairs, we also frequently talked about “truth” and how we become convinced that our interpretation of events is the right one. For example, we explored how we often accept religious concepts as though we don’t need to explore them anymore — because we know they are “right.”

Discover How You View “The” Truth by Asking Yourself These Questions:

  1. Do I believe there is something that can be considered the final, ultimate, never-to-be-questioned-again truth? If so, what is it? How do I know that that is the truth?

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Questions for You and Your Friends: Heaven, Hell and Life After Death

Expand relationships by asking yourself questions about religion and spirituality

This World is not Conclusion.
A Sequel stands beyond —
Invisible, as Music —
But positive, as Sound.

—Emily Dickinson

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I think the resurrection of the body, unless much improved in construction, a mistake.

—Evelyn Underhill

Explore other quotations on heaven, hell, and life after death. And then, ask yourself questions on these topics. Share your answers with your friends, and as you do, notice if there is something you haven’t thought of before.
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