Empathy Exercise

Animosity often exists because people are unwilling or unable to see the world or a single experience from the perspective of another person. Often people make snap judgments based on the first thing they see or hear about a person.

Post a 200- to 300-word response to the following: If you found out you were wrong, would you be willing to change the opinion you have held? Would you be willing to make an effort to change the basic relationship? What were the circumstances that created the snap judgment? How might you make the effort to change the basic relationship?

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I cannot think of a present-day example, probably because I stay home now. I can, however, reference a past relationship. A good example would be my district manager at my last job. I disliked her very much. From the first day, she was always on me about something, unfairly so. I have tried to imagine some sane reason why she would behave in this fashion. It really did ruin any professional relationship ever possible between us. I had always assumed that she was just bitter about my perceived talents and experience or something like that. So if I found out that I was wrong; that she really only wanted to push me to be my best. I would have to change my opinion of her. I am the same way with people. If I can see that someone can be more than they are I push them towards self-actualization. I guess I would also feel compelled to change our relationship. I would probably respect her more. Additionally, forgiveness would be in order. You know this really all goes back to perceived dissimilarity. Here I am confessing that I would probably do exactly what she did while all the time blaming her.

Furthermore, the situation that brought about the snap judgment was my first impression of her. I can remember it vividly, the first day on the job. I walked up to her and said hi and she said, “Why are you late and out of uniform?” Truth be told, I was just over 2 minutes late and did not have the correct color of blue shirt on. To my defense, the training department was out of shirts so I went and bought my own out of my own pocket and I was late because I had to park further away because I gave my parking spot to another co-worker. This, of course, did not matter to her at all. Likewise, I think I could make an effort to change the relationship by directly asking her why she was so hard on me. I do not see a downside to that tactic. At least then I will know exactly why she has acted that way all of this time.  

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Bolt, M. (2004). Pursuing human strengths: A positive psychology guide. New York, NY: Worth.


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