It’s been a couple of weeks of trying to pay attention to my thoughts in an effort to tap into my more empathic self and be a kinder, more understanding me, and I thought I’d do a little report back, a status update. I’ve been doing only so-so with this plan. More and more I forget to pay attention until I’ve let some negative pattern run long enough to sour my mood, leaving me having to coax myself back around to a better disposition. One thing I’ve noticed in all the monitoring is how many of my negative thoughts are directed at myself. This isn’t really so surprising, I guess, as people are often their own worst critics, but it’s disheartening all the same.
So, in addition to watching what I think about others, I’m trying to watch what I think about myself. No wonder I’m so tired every night!
And speaking of empathic civilizations, I just started reading Ashfall by Mike Mullin. It’s a YA novel that was recommended by our teen intern. I’m not sure yet if I’m passing along the recommendation — not far enough into the story to decide — but I think reading this book is what made me think more about my “think nicer thoughts” campaign. It’s one of those novels where the world’s gone all wrong and you get to see how quickly people start tearing each other apart … sometimes literally.
My efforts at strengthening my empathy muscles are not being challenged in any way as severely as the characters in the book, of course, and yet I am finding myself challenged. And challenged. And challenged. I know it’s only been a couple of weeks, but I’d hoped to have moved the needle a little further on this one, see that I’m getting a little closer to my better empathic self. But not so much.
Still plenty of work to do. And, as with so many things, I guess it needs to start at home. How can I extend true empathy to others when I’m not all that nice to myself?
Find all of today’s slices at Two Writing Teachers