We cannot ever really understand someone else beside ourselves. We can imagine. We can speculate. But, we cannot live in those shoes we think we fit into. This is somewhat like the Stepsisters in Cinderella. We may think we should be the prince’s spouse, but the shoes simple don’t fit. So, how do we develop any kind of compassion for others if we never really understand completely what another person thinks or feels?
I had a very interesting experience this past weekend. I have been studying Spanish intensely for the past eight months, sometimes four hours a day. However, when I finally hired a private tutor (who lives in Colombia, SA) I realized I knew very little to nothing about communicating with the Latin community in general. In fact, the different sects of Latinos in Florida all spoke with very different dialects than the Colombian one I was learning and much more rapidly than seemed possible to understand.
At first, I thought I would never be able to understand anyone in the community. I almost gave up hope, especially after I completed the Rosetta Stone course and still couldn’t understand what sounded as foreign as an Asian speaking in his native tongue.
So, I took a different tact. I decided I would spend the next couple of months immersing myself in the culture, listening to Spanish television and music, finding Latin friends, and doing more observing than trying to communicate. As a result, yes, you guessed it, I absorbed the necessary content I needed to begin to communicate. I also lost the fear of “not knowing” the correct word or phrase—and simply dove into the culture.
This past weekend I went on vacation with a friend who knows about 100 words in English. He moved to the U.S. on a visitor’s visa from Venezuela. So, I decided that I would spend at least 90% of my time speaking Spanish while I was away. I even spoke Spanish to the people at the hotel pool, at the beach, in the restaurants, and wherever we went. The only time I didn’t speak Spanish was when I had to explain something to Piter, my friend, and then help him learn a new English word. So, I learned by immersion.
But, what I did not figure on happening was that I was embraced by another community in doing so. Suddenly, I was one of a extended family who is, perhaps, sometimes looked down upon as different. I was not an observer, but a part of the pack. The experience was a happy one. Not only was I proud to be understanding and communicating in a different language, but I also embraced something new about compassion.
Are you in need of Life or Spiritual Coaching? I’ve been a life coach and clinical hypnotherapist and minister of New Thought for 25 years. I do my sessions online, so you can even have your session in bed, so that you can go directly to sleep during the hypnosis session. You must have a laptop or a notebook to do these sessions, either on Skype or Facetime. You can give me a call at 954-253-6493. My fee is $95 for an hour.
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Chosen to show his new hypnotherapeutic techniques on The Learning Channel (TLC) and also given the opportunity to teach at the world conference for Learning, and received the award of excellence for Helping Overcome Obesity in Nashville, Bo Sebastian is the writer and director of Finding Authentic You and Uncommon Gay Spiritual Warrior. Go directly to Amazon/Amazon Kindle to buy any of his wonderfully inspired books: ]