Making the best of it

“It’s not about the cards you’re dealt, but how you play the hand.”

This quote is one of my favorite ones, it’s just so true. You can’t change what family you are born into, your physical characteristics, your innate nature (to a degree!). Accidents happen, terrible things happen, and sometimes wonderful things happen, incredible opportunities arise, but it is how you react that determines how your life will be.

It is a great quote to think of when everything seems to be going wrong, or when people around you seem to have more luck than you. Remember they have just been dealt a different hand of cards, they probably have struggles you cannot even imagine, we have no idea.

Some people seem to have everything, their life seems to be effortless, they were always standing in the right place at the right, but it is also what they did when standing there that counts. Other people might not have capitalised on the same opportunity in the same way.

Every encounter you have can be an opportunity, can represent a door opening, or it can simply be an encounter. It’s down to your perception. The next time you think, “why does that always happen to them?” think, “I wonder what they do to enable that to happen?”

Doors open all around us, but sometimes we are too blinkered to see them. Make sure you open your eyes, be brave, be fearless, say yes, see what happens. And maybe nothing good seems to come your way, but don’t forget to keep looking, so that if it does, you don’t miss it.

Your life may not be how you pictured it, but it doesn’t mean it can’t be wonderful and fulfilling, and happy. Sometimes we have to let go of our fixed views and embrace the uncertainty.

 

The difference between sympathy and empathy

Someone has fallen down a well. Sympathy stands above the well and calls down: “How awful! I’m so sorry for you!” Empathy climbs down into the well and says: “It’s dark down here, that must be hard for you.” Indifference says: “I don’t have a well. That will never happen to me.”

Strikes a chord? How many times have we turned to someone for support but not elicited the response we had hoped for, and ended up feeling hurt. Often this is unintentional. Empathy is tricky, but like many things it is a skill, and it can be learned, improved on and mastered. Empathy, is one of the reasons that we search around for other people who have had the same experiences as we had, so that they “get it”. Don’t get me wrong, sympathy is a million times preferable to indifference, but if you can master it, empathy is the skill to aspire towards. I use the “well” scenario if I need guidance with how to react to someone else’s distress or problem.

Imagine that you are struggling to load your horse. Frustrated by your efforts, you turn to someone on your yard. You could get a variety of responses.

“Well my horse loads.”

“How awful.”

“It’s difficult when horses don’t load, I have had one that didn’t load. That must be a concern for you.”

Which response is the best? The third one! If you then want advice turn to that person.

Remember that this applies the other way round, so if someone comes to you with a problem, try and respond with empathy. Even if, to you, their problem seems small, or easily solvable, simply responding to someone with kindness and empathy can go a long way towards making that person feel supported and heard.

The difference between sympathy and empathy

Someone has fallen down a well. Sympathy stands above the well and calls down: “How awful! I’m so sorry for you!” Empathy climbs down into the well and says: “It’s dark down here, that must be hard for you.” Indifference says: “I don’t have a well. That will never happen to me.”

Strikes a chord? How many times have we turned to someone for support but not elicited the response we had hoped for, and ended up feeling hurt. Often this is unintentional. Empathy is tricky, but like many things it is a skill, and it can be learned, improved on and mastered. Empathy, is one of the reasons that we search around for other people who have had the same experiences as we had, so that they “get it”. Don’t get me wrong, sympathy is a million times preferable to indifference, but if you can master it, empathy is the skill to aspire towards. I use the “well” scenario if I need guidance with how to react to someone else’s distress or problem.

Imagine that you are struggling to load your horse. Frustrated by your efforts, you turn to someone on your yard. You could get a variety of responses.

“Well my horse loads.”

“How awful.”

“It’s difficult when horses don’t load, I have had one that didn’t load. That must be a concern for you.”

Which response is the best? The third one! If you then want advice turn to that person.

Remember that this applies the other way round, so if someone comes to you with a problem, try and respond with empathy. Even if, to you, their problem seems small, or easily solvable, simply responding to someone with kindness and empathy can go a long way towards making that person feel supported and heard.

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