Choosing the battles we enter is in essence choosing empathy

The internet has not worked in our house for the last fifteen days, and the irritation is rising across our neighbourhood. I am sure I have heard my neighbours yelling a little louder, the kids across the road melting down and my internal patience pedometer is on fire.

Little annoyances, framed by first world problems that unravel our empathy cord. It is never the Meta-Story that breaks down kindness and light, it is the pieces of grit in the grout, that cause the tile to fall off the wall. Little by little the imperfection, works its nuance and cracks open the seam around it.

It’s clothing placed in the basket, even though it wasn’t dirty. It is the half-eaten apple rolling beneath the couch. Maybe the crusts left in the lunchbox and the wand from the coffee machine crusted in milk. Little pieces of thoughtlessness that ask us to breathe deep. Again.

Text message miscommunication and outdoor chairs cracking from the enduring summer heat, people yelling “You always do that” and icecreams that fall off their sticks.

Lately, though I have remembered that it is a choice to enter the arena of conflict and reaction is a choice. Even though people dump their bags of rubbish at our front doors, it is our choice whether we bring them into our metaphorical homes.

Conflict is a choice. Also, offence leaves the conflict arena, by deciding to choose empathy over a quick and often regretful response. Empathy is listening to hear but choosing our answer carefully.

Do you struggle when you pick up other peoples offences and bring them into your personal space?

I do.

My need for justice often overtakes the sanity of the moment. I get lost in the complexity and forget that some conversations do not need answering.

Allowing words to wash over and annoying circumstances to slide, become the superfood power of living with empathy shaped glasses.

You don’t have to attend every argument to which you are invited to enter.

The most significant leadership lessons I am learning. The way we choose to enter into conflict changes the breadth and depth of our spheres of influence.

How does this impact your everyday journey?

I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Join us for more conversation over on Patreon at the boardroom retreat. Personal and Professional Development for Leaders.


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