Just Like MeEmpathy Exercise
“Realizing that the other person is also just like me is the basis on which you can develop compassion, not only towards those around you but also towards your enemy. Normally, when we think about our enemy, we think about harming him. Instead, try to remember that the enemy is also a human being, just like me.” –HHDL
Just Like Me
Ask participants to sit in pairs and guide them with this script. You can also ask them to stand in two lines, facing each other; after completing the exercise with one partner, the line moves up by one and the exercise is repeated with another partner. This increases the understanding that all others are “just like me.” This practice can also be done alone, by bringing to mind a friend, a colleague, a neutral person, or a difficult person. Or it can be done silently, when meeting someone new.
You can use any or all of these phrases, or any that seem more appropriate for the group.
Become aware that there is a person in front of you. A fellow human being, just like you. Now silently repeat these phrases, while looking at your partner.
This person has a body and a mind, just like me.
This person has feelings, emotions and thoughts, just like me.
This person has in his or her life, experienced physical and emotional pain and suffering, just like me.
This person has at some point been sad, disappointed, angry, or hurt, just like me. (You can say these one at a time….)
This person has felt unworthy or inadequate, just like me.
This person worries and is frightened sometimes, just like me.
This person has longed for friendship, just like me.
This person is learning about life, just like me.
This person wants to be caring and kind to others, just like me.
This person wants to be content with what life has given, just like me.
This person wishes to be free from pain and suffering, just like me.
This person wishes to be safe and healthy, just like me.
This person wishes to be happy, just like me.
This person wishes to be loved, just like me.
Now, allow some wishes for well-being to arise:
I wish that this person have the strength, resources, and social support to navigate the difficulties in life with ease.
I wish that this person be free from pain and suffering.
I wish that this person be peaceful and happy.
I wish that this person be loved.
Because this person is a fellow human being, just like me.
After a few moments, ask the participants to thank their partners with a bow or in whatever way feels appropriate.