Whats Your Compassion Quotient

If you're emotionally seductive, people feel comfortable showing their feelings around you, and vice versa. The key to emotional seductiveness is compassion, which does not mean pity. Rather, it means an ability to see into other people's hearts, and to put yourself in their shoes. But compassion involves more than lending a sympathetic ear when someone is down. Compassionate people have the capacity to find the sparkling thread of humor in everyday life—not laughing at people, but with them. They have a unique ability to infect others with their own sense of joy. Gauge your own compassion level by answering "yes" or "no" to the following questions:

1. When you ask someone, "How are you today?", do you really listen if the answer is something more than the automatic (and expected), "Fine, and you?"_

2. When someone expresses frustration or talks about a problem they're having, do you listen with your full attention, not giving advice unless it's specifically requested?_

3. When your neighbor regales you with an anecdote of his toddler's newest accomplishment, do you fully listen and really hear his story—refraining from interrupting with a "one-up" tale about your own child or the child of a sibling or friend?_

4. Your best friend uncharacteristically calls you at four o'clock in the morning, devastated because she's just found out her husband is having an affair. Do you provide reassurance and make a commitment to get together with her later that day—without revealing irritation that your sleep was interrupted?_

5. Do you take care to "be there" for a friend who's just lost a loved one, even if you feel a bit awkward because you don't know exactly what to say?_

6. When someone tells you about his or her reaction to an experience, do you listen and genuinely try to empathize, even though you would have reacted quite differently in the same situation?_

7. Are you easily able to find humor even in stressful situations—even if it means laughing at yourself?

8. When you meet someone new, do you avoid making rash negative judgments or critical conclusions? Do you try to focus on the traits about the person that you really like?_

9. Can you have a spirited disagreement or conflict with a friend, and emerge with the friendship intact (perhaps even enhanced)?_

If you can truthfully answer "yes" to all of the above questions, you have a healthy compassion quotient. If you hedged a bit on some of them, don't beat yourself up. There's no time like now to work on increasing your "CQ"

*Do you consider yourself to be strong or vulnerable?" That was the question of the day at a recent informal gathering of my friends and associates. Several people answered without hesitation, explaining their choice of one or the other trait

FinalFy Lisa, a woman who had always exuded an air of supreme confidence, said, Tm both strong arte/vulnerable." She went on to explain, "Most people assume you can be only one or the other, but toe vulnerability can be a mark of strength. Both aspects are equally impurtant." Lisa is a woman who can hold her own In the toughest business negotiations, but, as she says, "Kittens make me ciy, babies make me cry, a work of art makes me Cfy In prefer to be vulnerable, you have to have confidence and strength. If you Jack that confidence, you're afraid to Open up to new experiences—or to another person."

Lisa has the right idea. Strength and vulnerability are not mubusily exclusive, and the sexiest, most confident, most dynamic people of both sexes usually are also genUe, soft and vulnerable. That's definitely a seductive combination.

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