I’m Here: So Are You


Alex Katz, Three Figures On a Subway, 1948, Oil on masonite, 13 1/2 x 29 inches, Alex Katz Collection, Colby College, Maine. © Alex Katz / Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY, Courtesy Colby College Museum of Art, Gift of the artist – see http://www.timothytaylor.com

“A great relationship is about two things. First, appreciating the similarities, and second, respecting the differences.”

~ Unknown

I am not usually in the business of promoting adverts for beer, but I feel compelled to make an exception in the case of the latest offering from Heineken.  Check out this short film which demonstrates starkly and powerfully how well we can get along with other people who hold views different from our own, if we just make a tiny effort to spend some time with them.

“Whenever you are about to find fault with someone, ask yourself the following question: what fault of mine most nearly resembles the one I am about to criticise?”

~ Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

As the video highlights, it can often seem as if we are worlds apart from someone else.  This is because we see life only from our own perspective.  We can only be ourselves.  If we stop to think about it, we know that other people have different perspectives from our own, but how often do we actually do this?  More likely, we forget and bowl along through life as if our own views are the only ones in town.

This can lead to stress, anger and resentment on both sides if we come up against people who express life in a manner that is counter to our own.

“We see the world not as it is, but as we are.  No event is intrinsically good or bad; it is the eyes through which we see that make it one or another.”

~ Alan Cohen, A Deep Breath of Life


So how can we operate differently?  How can we go against what seems to be our inherent nature?  We can practice empathy.

“Empathy is feeling with people……What makes something better is connection.”

~ Brené Brown

This short film, which animates the words of Brené Brown, explains clearly the difference between empathy and sympathy and, in particular, how empathy can help build connection and understanding.


It does not matter if we have not had the same experiences as the person we are talking to.  It also does not matter whether the other person is sharing a dramatic and traumatic event, or simply talking about life from their own point of view.  It is enough to ask ourselves ‘how would I feel’ and operate from that place of imagination.

In this way, we can build bridges with others from a basis that we might never otherwise have thought possible.  That’s definitely worth raising a glass – be it beer, water or any other drink of your choice. 🙂








41 thoughts on “I’m Here: So Are You

  1. I am, as you know, very much in awe of the wisdom of contained in the posts on your blog. This has to be one of the best with a message that all who read it should take time to ponder.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. These are 2 wonderful finds. Great Heineken advert, hopefully a lot of people watch it. Your post is as fantastic as the videos, also the second one. Liz, this is all so true, but hard to see sometimes when we are stuck in our own viewpoint. And we could get on with with people better if we listened. Always good to end with a drink together. Hugs

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I’ve long since abandoned having sympathy for several of my dear friends that have been in the same dark places for the many years I have known them. Above and beyond all their relationship woes however, they are the most darling people.

    Since I love them, I choose instead to use my imagination [as suggested in your wonderful post] to connect to them where they are. It’s not always easy however when a person is stuck, but i have found that descending to their space and gently helping them climb up the ladder if only a little bit each time works best.

    I see this as having empathy as well, but also love the short that speaks to just saying how much you appreciate being shared with; even though you’re not sure exactly what to say right then. I fall into this category because I don’t live a life of lack myself. Even having been in relationships that are toxic, I’ve managed to move quickly forward into the light.

    Wonderful Thought and Focus post. Thanks for sharing both. I don’t drink beer [prefer cider or as of yesterday mead], but I do resonate with the beer video. Excellent points, and definite bridge building too!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Reblogged this on Sparky Jen "No Beating Around the Bush Allowed!" and commented:
    How many of us hold the intention to cultivate better, more sustainable relationships among our dear and close friends, family members near and far, work associates, and most if not all people from all walks of life we meet?

    I believe that most of us are super comfortable with other people’s similarities to ours, but what about their differences???

    This handy dandy reblog from the Leaping Life blog[complete with timely video shorts], may strengthen both our intentions and resolve to do so.

    Have at it!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I tend not to watch videos on the internet (or TV, and I haven’t seen a movie in about 20 years!), but the points you make here, with the quotes (love the Aurelius) and your own words, come across clearly and well on their own!

    Liked by 3 people

      1. That’s good to know–I often feel like the most peculiar character because movies don’t appeal to me. Partly because I can’t deal with the idea of sitting still for two hours!

        Liked by 2 people

    1. Kerry, I have really enjoyed reading your exchange with Mandy. Isn’t it great when a post sparks this kind of conversation. I used to love going to the cinema, but find all the other people too irritating with their poor ‘cinema etiquette’!! I sometimes watch a film at home, but only if I can knit along as well! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Empathy can be very tiring which is why I probably use sympathy as a default mode more often than I should. Some say empathy can be self rewarding and no doubt it is, but as the mother of a daughter with severe anxiety and PTSD, sometimes my empathy button gets plain worn out. 😦 But empathy is good, connection is good, and we need more of it in every situation and community. Lovely post.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. I empathise with you my dear Gallivanta when you say your empathy button gets worn out! Dealing with loved ones who have severe anxiety (fortunately Elinor doesn’t have PTSD) is very wearing. There is no escape for us, it seems.

      Liked by 3 people

    2. Thank you so much, Mandy, for this touching contribution, and for your conversation with Kerry. Such an important topic, with many angles – I appreciate you highlighting such an important perspective.

      Liked by 2 people

  7. My computer has been having sound problems for a few days – discovered in fact, when I tried to listen to your first clip. I almost gave up and just let it go. Quite possibly, had it not been one of your posts, Liz, I might have done. I am SO glad that I made a point of coming back to watch, listen and read once the sound problem was fixed.

    This is such a great post. Thank you, Liz 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Thank-you, Liz! The first Heinekin advert is excellent. I was most moved by it and to see the people’s expressions when they watched their partner expressing their views was … ‘thrilling’ I think might be the right word. I have seen the Brené Brown short film before and it is good.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks for this comment, Clare, and for your response to Mandy’s input. I love the fact that we can all have these conversations about important aspects of our lives, even though we have never met – it’s as if we are all sitting round the same kitchen table. Perhaps we will manage that one day 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  9. Greetings! I enjoyed reading this post, and watching the videos so carefully selected to bring your thoughts into view. I was suspicious of the Heineken video at first, but I loved the way it illustrated that working together/building something together can really make people see and appreciate each other in a way that we don’t when we assume we know things about people based on stereotypes.

    Liked by 1 person

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