Archive for December 28th, 2020

December 28, 2020


by Rod Smith

Empathy is a lot easier to define than impart. 

“Getting to” empathy is not easy. 

Also, Empathy has two very close siblings: Listening and Challenge. 

The three travel together as a package deal. 

It would be a “therapy joke” to suggest they are codependent but, while they are distinct, they function together, much like fingers on the same hand. 

Empathy is not something a person can use when needed like a spatula. 

Like listening, it’s first a skill, then, a life-style. It’s not a trick or formula, a way to get what you want. Using any interpersonal skill to get what YOU want is called manipulation or domination or intimidation, siblings from a whole other family.

Empathy is the beautiful, artful consequence that grows within a person who has sought to understand him or herself and his or her struggles, failures, successes, and therefore finds it easier to enter the experience of another, than one who has not. 

Self-knowledge, self-acceptance, are the keys that release or withhold you and me from empathy. 

No matter how extensively trained or confident, you and I cannot enter the world of another at greater depth than we have dared to enter your own. I’ve met unschooled “losers” with more empathy than trained professionals. I’m sure you have too.

Empathy and sibling-Listening, are somewhat (not completely) useless, without the third sibling: Challenge. I will try to say more about that in a few days.    

December 28, 2020


by Rod Smith

I write often about integrity. It is important to me. 

It was not always so. 

Over the years I have had to do a lot of costly mending. 

Some breaches of my integrity have hurt others, some perhaps beyond repair. I remain hopeful. 

Integrity is often reduced to a matter of keeping your word or paying your debts on time. 

I think it’s about all that and much more. 

It is about being integrated. It’s being unified within. 


It’s about you and me bringing all of who we are to all of what we do and all of what we stand for. 

It’s welding the body (physical), heart (passions), head (thinking), spirit and soul (the core of life and identity) into one focused life. While people are more complicated than dividing them up into neat portions and parts, to do so is an attractive trend.  

Integrity is investing all of our “components” or “parts” into who and what we are and into what we do with our lives. 

Perhaps you have discovered that whatever you do with one “part” of you impacts all the other “parts” of you. That’s why when you get your body “in shape” you feel better all round and even think more clearly! 

Sadly, it also works in the other direction. 

Integrity (holiness) is about living in such a manner that they all work together for our individual and for our communal good.