Maintaining empathy will make your life sparkle

Kat Vuletich
and her mews Mack

It’s hard to maintain the sparkle long term in a relationship, to remain empathic to your partner (and your family) as you wander your way along that ever-lengthening everyday path. The everyday grind wears off the gleam. And those little burrs become more and more defined. And dig deeper and deeper.
Empathy is mostly listening. Use your ears. God gave humans two ears and one mouth, to use in that proportion. Be the safe place your loved ones come to talk, to confide, to seek comfort. That’s empathy. Telling them what they should do and how to fix their lives may be useful another time, but not when someone’s taken a blow. When people are hurting, they just want to sink into a hug, a connection that lets them diffuse. Give them that. Be quiet and embrace them and their woe. Commiserate. That’s how you speak to them. “That sounds really hard,” is a good phrase to utter. “How can I help?” is another. But first, just listen. If they don’t want to talk, just be with them. Quiet is healing, too.
Life is life. People are people. But the people we cherish, or say we cherish, need to be our special project. Above everyone else, the people in our nuclear family, those living with us, spouse, children, siblings, parents … amongst them we absolutely have to observe the tenets of polite society. Bite your tongue, and hold back that sarcastic retort. Keep your humor and lose the sensitivity. Develop a thick skin an elephant would envy. Laugh at yourself, often. Relive the moments that made you smile, laugh, sing.  Praise your mate. Hug your child. Smile for your parents’ retelling of THAT story for the billionth time.
Do everything to maintain harmony and encourage happiness, and the burrs will wear away. The shine will return. Be diligent in this. It’s your life. Make it sparkle.