Drawing wisdom from personal experience can make us more empathetic, but it can also keep us from empathizing with another person. Sure, they provide us with a wealth of information. However, we must still use our judgment in identifying how we use them. It would be naive to think that only because something happened in a certain way for us that it should be the case, for the other, too, or that they should find our personal experience relevant to theirs. 

We must be cautious in sharing (or spitting out) “words of wisdom”, too, in a personal context, as this can backfire – it can narrow our perspective and also limit the discourse, causing the other person to disconnect from us.

If we sincerely want to connect and empower, we can use our personal experience to take ourselves back to what we’ve been through, what our states of being were like and how we moved forward – then use the information to guide the other person to go through their own experience, drawing their own insights along the way.

It takes a certain level of self-awareness and discipline to do this. Sometimes there is only a thin line separating a “sermon” from “guidance”.


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