It takes strength to put ourselves in another’s place. It’s easy to think we know what another person thinks or wants; it’s easy to expect they will act or speak in a certain way.
Often, we get disillusioned when a person does something different than we expect. This is where compassion is needed: When we have compassion, we want to understand. When the compassion is strong enough, we can put ourselves in another’s place. We can have empathy.
The Charter for Compassion calls us “to cultivate an informed empathy with the suffering of all human beings, even those regarded as enemies.”
“An informed empathy” requires being close enough to see the eyes and hear the voices of those who see things differently than we do. It means trying hard to understand a common concern from another person’s point of view … even someone we may think of as an enemy.