The Gold Standard for Healing the World, One Conversation at a Time

04/17/2015 06:39 pm ET | Updated Jun 17, 2015

I hope you'll take the 05:46 to watch this video about Gladys Wilson and Naomi Feil.

Maybe I'm just imagining it, but as I look out at the world I see that tenderness is in danger of becoming extinct.

The reason is because tenderness requires being not just present and patient, but being willing to let go of "your here" to go to "their there." Letting go "your here" means in the words of psychoanalyst Wilfred Bion, to listen without memory (a past personal agenda you're trying to plug people into) or desire (a new personal agenda you're trying to plug people into). In neither case are you listening or caring about the other person's agenda.

Tenderness is still present when caring for an enfeebled, elderly parent or grandparent who loved and cared for you or for one of your aging pets. It is also present in small bits with young children who are in pain and when we empathize during the painful and tearjerker scenes in movies.

I don't particularly like what a world without tenderness looks like, but like the rest of the world I can still live without it.

What troubles me is that it is a harbinger that portends on its heels a lessening of patience and tolerance, replacing them with impatience, intolerance and following that, violence.

Tenderness is not only the opposite of violence; it is the antidote.