I am not a considerate person, but I try. It is important to me that those around me are happy and I would like to be helpful - helpful at work, helpful with my friends, helpful at home.
The main trap that I tend to fall into is that I treat people as I would like to be treated - to a fault. I literally imagine myself in the other person's shoes and think about what I would be thinking/wanting. I often forget to notice what they are feeling because I just superimpose what I would be feeling onto the situation and act from there. True empathy comes from understanding and reacting to the emotion first, not the circumstance. That is the extra step that is hard for me, to let go of what I would be feeling, wanting, or thinking, and recognize that someone else is having a different reaction.
When I read the article, She Divorced Me Because I Left Dishes By The Sink, by Matt from his blog Must Be This Tall To Ride, I didn't identify with the 'She,' instead I saw my life with Jason and my friends from the writer's perspective. This was not because I would be the one to leave the dish, though I totally would - everyone I know is tidier than me. It is because I still enjoy doing things for my loved ones, and days that I find ways to try to make there lives better are great days. I want to continue to be, "grateful for another opportunity to demonstrate to [the people I care about] that [they] comes first and that I can be counted on to be there for [them]." I agree with the author that without that feeling/attitude a relationship or friendship will become disrespectful.
There was one section that I did identify with the opposite partner in the story, the female half of relationship in article. When describing the challenges between a couple as they talk about how something makes them feel, and that something 'irrational' has a larger emotional effect. This is always a difficult conversation, I would say it happens in all relationships and friendships, how do you make someone understand how you feel, and that those feelings are valid and important, when they would feel so different in the same situation? Truly, our emotions are secrets! This section is powerful (please ignore the gender dichotomy and use of the word 'marriage', I think that this concept works across all types of relationships, partnerships, and friendships):
If he fully understood this secret she has never explained to him in a way that doesn’t make her sound crazy to him (causing him to dismiss it as an inconsequential passing moment of emo-ness), and that this [...] situation and all similar arguments will eventually end his marriage, I believe he WOULD rethink which battles he chose to fight, and would be more apt to take action doing things he understands to make his wife feel loved and safe.
I think a lot of times, wives don’t agree with me. They don’t think it’s possible that their husbands don’t know how their actions make her feel because she has told him, sometimes with tears in her eyes, over and over and over and over again how upset it makes her and how much it hurts.
And this is important: Telling a man something that doesn’t make sense to him once, or a million times, doesn’t make him “know” something. Right or wrong, he would never feel hurt if the same situation were reversed so he doesn’t think his wife SHOULD hurt. It’s like, he doesn’t think she has the right to (and then use it as a weapon against him) because it feels unfair.
“I never get upset with you about things you do that I don’t like!” men reason, as if their wives are INTENTIONALLY choosing to feel hurt and miserable.
When you choose to love someone, it becomes your pleasure to do things that enhance their lives and bring you closer together, rather than a chore.