I don't often send you away to read something else. I guess I feel like once I have you here, I want to keep you all to my little ole self.
I'm greedy that way.
But today, I'd really like you to read this article. Not just because it talks about cancer patients (although I will admit, that's what drew me to it) but because I think it has a lot of wisdom in it about expressing empathy. Any of you who know me, know this is a hot button of mine and how much it means to me.
At least you act like you do.
I found this paragraph especially thought provoking:
Even so, oncologists sometimes miss signs of distress, particularly if those signs are indirect, she said. For example, a patient may ask how big the tumors are, and the doctor may answer in millimeters — when the patient really wants to know: “Is the cancer getting worse? Am I dying?”
I think in many ways, we are all occasionally guilty of this ...of not asking for what we need or want. Instead we hope the other person will answer our unasked questions, sense our unspoken needs, give us our silent desires.
I think we women are perhaps more guilty of this than men. Not that I don't know some very direct women as well as some hemming and hawing men for that matter, but all in all I think woman have a more difficult time just putting it out there and being okay with it. Maybe it's the old "you can't be disappointed if you don't get your hopes up" scenario. Maybe we think it is more significant if someone "just knows". I don't know. But I do know it works better when you don't pout or complain but instead ask for what you want.
At the same time, I think most of us are also guilty of not really hearing people when they do ask or ask in their own way. People rarely ask what they want to know straight out of the shoot. There is almost always a question behind the question. Just like in the paragraph above - the real question wasn't about the potential cancerous mass, it was about potential Catholic mass. People, for some reason, hardly ever lead with the question they actually want an answer to. Just like when you want to go to lunch with someone and you call them up and say, "Hi. What are you doing?" You don't actually want to know what they're doing. So the next time someone asks you a question, maybe follow up with another question or try to find out what they really want or need. It helps.
Now I'm just rambling when what I really want is for you to read the article. So go on now ... read it.