To "relate" to someone is to have understanding for a situation, to feel a connection,
empathy, and compassion for another. In the 60's people would ask, "Can you relate?" and another way to say it was, "Can you dig it?" Relatability is how well you can accomplish this or if you are relate-able. Relationship ships are built on the foundation of relatability by two or more people. Relationships also break down when two people cannot relate to each other anymore. So it appears that Relatability is a pretty big deal if you want to have a successful relationship with your partner, your children, your parents, and your friends and coworkers. It drives who you vote for at the poles, the degree you will pursue in college, and where you chose to live. In every aspect, your relatability will influence your life decisions. Relatability is a good thing, but it doesn't come naturally.
All the qualities of realtability
One is not born with understanding, it happens slowly through our life experiences. We can gain understanding, but it does not mean it is true or accurate. I can learn 1+1=3 and I will have gained understanding of addition, but it is not accurate.
I can feel a connection with another person and be completely disconnected at the same time. A person who believes they are in love with a total stranger delusional. But it is happening more and more these days as people go to dating sites, social media sites, chat rooms, and Instagram to "connect" with others. Read yesterday's post (Buyer Beware) and you'll see how dangerous the wrong kind of connections can be.
Empathy is the ability to "walk in someone else's shoes," to have a feel for their circumstances beyond just the head-knowledge of what they are going through. This also must be learned as less and less people are being taught empathy in exchange for "personal rights." As we take a stand that makes our rights more important than the needs of another we have less empathy for their feelings.
Dictioinary.com defines compassion as: "a feeling of deep sympathy and sorrow for another who is stricken by misfortune, accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate the suffering." In other words it is the action of the combination of all of the above qualities. It's the gathering of information, the sense of connection, the empathy of another's plight, and then the desire to do something about it. It goes beyond the loose change you give to a homeless person, or the opening of a door for your wife. It is putting yourself in a situation that humbles you.
BEGINNING NEXT FRIDAY:
One of Encouragers therapists, Jian Tan, AMFT will be running a 5-week workshop for veteran's and their families to discuss various aspects of Relationships (photo). The final meeting is February 14, and we will have coffee and desert to celebrate Valentine's Day. If you would like to attend please call 951-900-4414.
Today, do more than just understand the pain of another. Do more than a fist-bump, a smilie-face, or a thumbs-up. If you know someone is suffering, lonely, in pain, or in a situation you can improve, take a step toward humility and reach out.
Day 10: Humble