Sunday, June 25, 2006

Things That Women Should Know

What a topic to write on. How many magazines have you seen with that headline? "What women should know about..."

Men, sex, sports, cars, money, investing, cooking and my personal favorite, what women should know about having orgasms.

I recently read a piece about why women should know why men prefer long, shiny hair. According to the researcher, long, shiny hair provides a greater surface area for releasing human pheromones into the air which then attracts potential mates.

Plus, long, shiny hair also indicates good health, good genes and fertility. Don't get me wrong, I like long, shiny hair on women and actually on some men but I'm not sure why women need to know why they should love themselves with long, shiny hair.

The fact has an underlying tone that if you have anything other than long, shiny hair, you are doomed to bad health, come from bad genes and generally will never be mated with your species.

I know hundreds of women with short, shiny hair that are married or have partners and are in good health and actually enjoy their sex lives and love the freedom of short, shiny hair.

Here is an important fact that every women needs to know. Men have a preference for processing everyday information by physical contact or movement. And, that is why men can not stand or sit still while talking on the phone.

Women also need to know why ants turn up at picnics. It's because ant colonies have foragers that travel around finding food sources. When found, they call all the other ants to the area to eat.

Granted, these are interesting facts and many women do need to know this stuff. But, don't women also need to know how to manage money, raise children, program VCRs or DVDs or ocmputers for that matter?

How about reporting that women need to know how to invest using the stock market or understand life insurance or how to avoid bankruptcy when your mate makes serious mistakes. Or, how about the fact that women need to know how to recognize when their spouse has made serious mistakes?

I may be taking the high ground on a seemlessly harmless and meant to be humorous article, but after all the strides made by women in the past few decades, we still don't make the money, we still don't win the politics, we still are not the sex that people turn to for someone to fix a crisis.

Could it be that women should know why we are still coming up short? Could it be because we think too much about why men prefer long, shiny hair?

Sunday, June 11, 2006

None, too much or just the right amount

If you believe in fairy tales, Goldilocks found her perfect fit in a bear cave. If she can find just the right temperature and just the right chair, we, those of us living other than in a fairy tale, can find just the right amount of empathy.

Remember empathy? It's when you or I feel what others are feeling without the others explaining to us what they are feeling. Those without the proper level of empathy are the messed up ones.

If you don't feel any empathy, you could be a sociopath. If you feel too much empathy, you may not be able to fire people or let them know what is best for them because you feel too sorry for them.

Just the right amount of empathy can make one a better person, a productive and happy manager, a good listener, a best friend and a world leader.

Excerising just the right amount of empathy can make you a great leader, a great influencer, a great communicator and one who can easily and effectively resolve many a conflict.

Let's think about famous leaders in our world and compare their levels of empathy. Donald Rumsfeld, does he have the rigt amount or too little or none at all? How about Mother Theresa, what level of empathy did she display? What about our current Pope or the the last Pope?

Dr. Phil or Oprah, do they really exercise empathy or does someone script it for them?

Let's look at happenings in our daily lives for signs of empathy or lack of empathy. Would empathy make a difference in road rage incidents? A Florida woman recently pulled a sword on a motorist at Wal-Mart for taking her parking spot. Just a few weeks ago, a local teen fired four shots into the air at a man and his wife when he, the teen, pulled out if front of the couple, but the man blew his car horn at the teen, who then fired four gun shots into the air as a threat.

What's up with that? Does the kid not realize how he jeopordized the couple's lives by pulling out in front of them just so he could get somewhere two seconds faster? The teen obvisouly could not empathaize with the couple's fears of losing their lives to a non-feeling teenager. Maybe we need to also empathize with the teenager. He obviously does not feel any empathy, so let's ask him why. Then let's teach him that it is better to feel for others than it is to shoot guns at others.

Let's show him we care about the couple but we also care about what he is feeling and we want to help him not shoot bullets into the air but to stop, listen and care.

If we can change one teenager, we can change a million teenagers. It's not too late. We can change the problems with the lack of empathy. We can all take the time to stop, listen and care. Wake up every morning, actually look at people as you go through your day and ask how you can practice empathy.

Not too much, but just the right amount of empathy...

Sunday, June 04, 2006

I Empathize With Ya

I hope that you are still capable of feeling empathy towards those inside of your cirlce of the world. Empathy as it turns out has many sides to it and is a deeper topic than has been appreciated of late.

After some minor research into empathy, I've found that there is a condition called empathy distress. I've also read about empathy avoidance (boy do I know alot about avoidance). Plus, there are politics attached to practicing empathy in the workplace.

And, but of course, there is tough empathy. Now if none of these apply to you, rest assured, you can take many a workshops to try to learn empathy.

My question to you would be, do you really believe that empathy can be taught? Doesn't one just feel empathy, or not?

Let's look closer at the many facets of empathy. Empathy distress is experienced by persons who can't detach themselves from those they feel empathy for. Nurses, social workers, child services counselors are examples of persons who can become empathy distressed. Feeling too much empathy for someone can inhibit that person's ability to provide adequate and objective care.

Empathy avoidance, is just that. Someone is avoiding feeling any empathy, again to help them aid another person in a proper manner. Police officers would be a good example of a profession that might practice empathy avoidance on a daily basis. It's not that a person cannot feel empathy, they just want to avoid any semblane of empathy.

Tough empathy on the other hand, becomes a situation where you can feel empathy but still take the appropriate action which can be reprimanding or firing a person. Donald Trump for example shows tough empathy on his show "The Apprentice". For television camera purposes, he cares about those that he fires for millions of viewers enjoyment.

Next we need to know about the politicts of empathy. Those in positions of power want persons for which they hold the power over, to show them empathy, instead of the person of power showing empathy to those lower on the power pole.

Empathy can be used as a manipulation tool. If empathy is shown but is an untrue empathy or a faked empathy, a person is more than likely trying to manipulate others into doing what they want done all in the name of really caring about the person doing the doing.

Can empathy be taught? I don't think so. Regulating empathy is a skill that can be effectively taught, especially to leaders, supervisors, managers or even politicans. But in its rawest form, people either care about other people enough to really listen and to really care or they just don't give a damn.

Why should I care or for that matter why should you or anyone care about empathy? Because I believe the lack of empathy to be the one true thing missing in today's I don't care, you don't care world.

While searching for answers to why kids are graduating high school or not, without a clue as to what it takes to be a caring and productive person in the grown up society or why kids are killing kids at alarming rates, or why adult men continue to setup dates on the Internet with children of all ages but legal age, or how one half of a marriage can literally kill the other half for money or revenge, we seem to overlook what the lack of empathy has created.

If you can't teach one to feel empathy, then how can we fix the lack of empathy? It is so simple and so obvious that we have all missed the answer.

We can all take a vow to stop doing just for ourselves, listen to those around us and start caring about what happens to them.

Hey, what can it hurt?