Empathy realizing by itself is easy.
Realizing empathy, on the other hand, can be difficult.
Sometimes this is difficult due to a bias or a lack awareness.
But that’s not all.
What can also make it difficult is tension.
Tension is a conflict between what our mind needs or values vs what it has instead.
When we experience too much tension, we can become mired in the discomfort or pain.
In this state, we have no room in our being to realize our empathy.
When two people are experiencing significant tension, without the help of a 3rd-party—not only free of significant tension, but also well-versed in the art of realizing empathy—, it is unlikely the two will be able to realize empathy with each other.
Most diversity and inclusion programs are primarily concerned with biases. They attempt to change someone’s behavior by telling them they’re biased. This could be effective if people were merely unaware of their biases.
In all other cases, it’s important to recognize that biases may also be either directly or indirectly fulfilling a basic human need. If letting go of a bias means depriving ourselves of our needs, we’ll experience tension. Now it’s no longer just a matter of awareness. It’s also a matter of fulfilling our needs and relieving our tension. That’s much harder.
If we’re serious about diversity and inclusion, we have to also help people discover or create an alternative way of fulfilling their needs.