A couple of weeks ago I came across this article on “Empathy” on the BBC News website:-


I would assess myself as a person who is generally empathetic to others, but I am not sure that the feeling of empathy necessarily draws from me a tangible response to make a difference on each occasion that the feeling arises.

I think to respond to every feeling of empathy would be a tad unrealistic.

To respond to feelings of empathy you have to be able put yourself into the perspective of the other party and operate from within that space.

I am very proud of changing very significantly the relationship between my lovely sister and her mother-in-law, whom I am also very well acquainted with since my own childhood.

I had spent years observing the tension between these two lovely people who for various reasons seemed to succeed effortlessly in annoying each other.

I decided about five years ago to align myself with the perspective of the “mother-in-law who I shall call Anne.

On each occasion that I observed tension I would engage Anne in conversation about all kinds of issues and slowly over time she came to see me as a confidante.

I never involved myself in the direct substance of the issues, but I would show her kindness by being attentive.

I would laugh with her and joke.

I would make sure she had a chair.

I would make sure she had a drink.

I would make sure that any involvement my mother had in a conversation, I would bring her into it too.

It was noticed!

It was noticed by her family!

I am their friend!

I am sought out for greetings, most particularly.

And the atmosphere at the gatherings that we have has been transformed.

My next blog will be   “Third Thing”

William Defoe

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