by Kathy LaFollett from Flockcall
The last 5 weeks have been fantastic days in advocate work. I’ve been invited into 6 flocks with 6 different challenges, 5 different parrots and in 4 different countries. A veritable cornucopia of advocacy needs. Today, all 6 flocks are stable, happy and moving forward with better understanding and flock balances. Today 6 different flocks, in 6 global locations, with 6 different challenges were helped by one simple action. Empathy.
There is no “fixing” problems with our flocks. In reality there are no problems. I’m less and less comfortable with the word fix. It implies something was broke. So you fix it. The reality is, when we find ourselves in a challenging situation with our parrot we have ceased to empathize with their context and moment. We’d rather just say, “I just want him to stop…” and get on with our day.
Empathy is scary. For humans it can be unnerving because you have to literally allow yourself to honestly take in what another is feeling, experiencing and understanding. You have to make yourself vulnerable. You have to admit you are not the only one in the room, nor are you the most important. When practicing empathy a person must set themselves aside and pick up the others burden and perspective. THAT requires admitting their burden is as important as yours. And it may require you setting your burden aside to help with theirs. And we all know how important our stuff can be!
So we don’t sometimes. We’ll admit we don’t understand. We’ll say we are sorry or we “feel you”, or the like. But in the end that’s a reflective move around the requirement of true empathy. It is not easy to see things from another perspective. The reality of it might just shed light on our own truths we are not willing to accept or are too stubborn to admit. Admission requires changes most times.
Empathy is the centerpiece at the table of a Successful Companion Parrot Lifestyle. Empathy allows all else to happen well. Without empathy there is no Art of the FlockCall. There is no communication, trust, and companionship. My first question to every email inquiry is simply, what do you think your parrot wants? We all want our birds to step up, poop appropriately, not bite, not “scream”, eat well, and not eat the furniture. But what does our parrot want when they are not cooperating with our “wants”? Because that moment of challenge is simply two wants happening at the same time. We are totally aware of what we want, but we aren’t giving too much thought about what our companions are wanting. A screaming parrot wants an answer. A parrot that won’t step up wants assurances. A bird that prefers junk foods is no different than any other creature that has tasted their version of junk food.
Empathy is required for our parrots and for our flock in general including the humans in the room. I tell every one that has gotten bit, do not take it personal. Because it isn’t. I suggest families struggling with multiple personalities and opinions on the companion in question sit down and admit what each person is wanting from this companion parrot. Because knowing what every one really wants, and then looking at each want as it is brought to that companion parrot illuminates the real issues at hand, for both sides.
The Art of the FlockCall is centralized around empathy, and we build from there. Because seeing the other guy’s point of view is the solution. Balance requires empathy because there are two sides to every story and all kinds of ways for that story to lose itself in a cloud of misunderstanding.
The Art of the FlockCall starts from the viewpoint of a companion parrot. They did not ask to be inside the human dynamic, so they get first dibs.
Original Article Empathy and our successes