Keynotes #16: Feeling the Pulse

“Keynotes” are my brief comments about life and recovery and are intended to provide insight, inspiration, wisdom or humor to your day.

“Feeling the Pulse” refers to our ability to be empathetic and feel the feelings of another person, whether they live in our house, work alongside us in our job or referee our child’s sports game; basically anyone that we may encounter on a daily basis.

I’ve noticed that when I take my fingers off the pulse or wrist of another and in effect lose their heartbeat, then I’ve been prone to respond in word or deed insensitively, cold or worst, I may not even think about the other person at all. When I’ve done this, its led to some messy and regrettable situations that I’ve had to clean up when I “relocated the pulse” of the other and realized they were painfully impacted by my disconnect.

So what does feeling the pulse look like? It looks like asking yourself…

  1. What am I feeling and what’s gotten under my skin that’s causing me to feel this way?
  2. Based on what I feel, what’s the best way to convey my feelings to others?
  3. Is what I’m about to say going to bring me closer to or further away from what I want to accomplish with the other person?
  4. Is what I’m about to say or do going to help or harm the other person?
  5. Would I want what I’m about to say said to me in the same tone and manner?
  6. What’s the ripple effect here? How might my wife, son, daughter, co-worker or employee be impacted by my words and actions?
  7. If I want to give “unsolicited feedback” to someone else that I may be angry with, are my fingers on his/her pulse, which helps me to consider their feelings and how they may be impacted by what I’m about to say? 
  8. Am I comfortable with how I managed the encounter? If not, what “clean up” work do I need to do immediately? 

Pausing and briefly asking yourself these questions may determine if you continue to feel a strong heartbeat or a faint one in the life of another. Keep working to ensure that you feel the pulse of others!

Dr Ken McGill 


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