manwhohasitall, a parody twitter account imaginging what some of the rubbish advice given to exausted women would sound like if it was given to men, has made headlines this week. It’s doing great work raising awareness of the impossible expectations our society puts on women. Today I feel like celebrating a tiny bit of good news though. A small but positive sign that some men are waking up to the fact they must take a bigger share of the concerns traditionally left to women.
My husband was recently asked for some advice at work. Another man wanted to know “how do you juggle being a new parent and working?”. Finally! For too long this is exactly the kind of question that women were expected to work double time to resolve, while men were left out of the discussion. It’s great to see men getting involved. Women will benefit, men will benefit and most of all children will benefit.
In my first post on empathy (link here) I gave a suggestion for improving your empathy skills. Here we’ll talk about another simple and effective way to improve your empathy listening to the experiences of people who are different to you.
It’s easy to spend all week listening to people who are like you in age, class and life stage. When I say ‘listening’ I’m talking about whichever channels you use, spoken or not. So if you spend a lot of time on twitter or instagram or reading blogs I’d say you are listening to the people you follow or read. Is your twitter feed full of people who look like you, think like you and share the same values as you?
Practise finding spaces where you can listen to people who are not like you. Listen to them describe their experiences without judging. Believe that what they describe feeling is real.
Here are a few suggestions for places to listen. Remember the idea is to listen to experiences which are different to your own.