How to Develop Empathy
Compassion is the capacity to recognise and share different people’s feelings and sentiments. It is crucial to building healthy connections, both at work and in your individual life. People who don’t display empathy are seen as cold and self-absorbed, and they usually lead solitary lives. Sociopaths are renowned for lacking compassion. Consequently, someone who is empathetic is seen as warm and caring.
The research shows that empathy is partly innate and partly learned. Everyone can improve, however. Here are eight ways to strengthen your own empathy:
1. Challenge yourself.
Try challenging encounters which force you outside your comfort zone. Acquire a new skill, for instance, such as a musical device, hobby, or an unknown language. Generate a newly trained competency. Doing things like this will give you a different perspective in life, and humility is a key enabler of compassion.
2. Get out of your usual environment.
Travelling, particularly to different places and societies. It provides you with greater recognition for others.
3. Get feedback.
Ask for responses about your intra-personal skills (e.g., listening) from family, friends, and colleagues—and then check in with them from time to time to see how they’re doing.
4. Explore the heart, not just the head.
Read books that help you explore intra-personal relations and emotions. This has been known to increase the empathy of young people.
5. Walk in others’ shoes.
Talk to people about what it is like to walk in their shoes about their issues and concerns and how they perceived experiences you both shared.
6. Examine your agendas.
We all have hiddden agendas that come in between our ability to listen and empatise with people. These are almost always around obvious factors such as gender, race and age. Don’t think you have any agendas?
7. Grow your sense of curiosity.
What can you learn from a younger co-worker who is inexperienced? What can you observe from a costumer you view as narrow-minded? Curious personalities ask loads of questions, allowing them to grow a stronger acknowledgement of the people around them.
8. Ask better questions.
Add three or four mindful, even provocative questions every time you converse with clients or co-workers.
What is empathy? It’s the ability to stand in other’s shoes of a different person, viewing to acknowledge and understand their feelings and views and to use that ability to guide your actions. That differs from being kind or showing pity.
The hum-drum surrounding empathy originates from a radical shift in the ability of how we perceive humankind. The traditional view that we are fundamentally self-interested creations is being pushed firmly to one side by proof that we are also homo empathic, wired for compassion, social cooperation, and bilateral aid.
Cultivate curiosity about strangers:
Developing curiosity needs more than becoming a brief chat about the weather. Crucially, it tries to explain the world inside the head of the other person. We are faced by strangers every day, like the man who delivers your mail or the new worker who always eats his lunch alone. Set yourself the test of having a conversation with one stranger every week. All it needs is determination.
Challenge prejudices and discover commonalities:
We all have assumptions about others and use collective labels—e.g., “Delhi guy,” “Keralite”—that prevent us from appreciating their individuality. HEPs challenge their own preconceptions and prejudices by searching for what they share with people rather than what divides them.
Try another person’s life:
We can each conduct our own tests. If you are religiously inclined, try experiencing other cultures, frequenting the assistance of beliefs distinct from your own, including a gathering of Humanists. Or if you’re an atheist, try visiting some nice place, spend your next vacation living and volunteering in a village.
Listen hard—and open up:
There are two attributes needed for being an empathic person. One is to learn the art of comprehensive listening. But listening is almost never enough. The other trait is to get us exposed. Excluding our masks and explaining our emotions to someone is vital for formulating a strong empathic bond. Empathy is a two-way street that, at its most helpful, is built upon shared recognition—and negotiation of our most essential feelings and encounters.
Inspire mass action and social change:
Empathy will most likely bloom on a combined scale if its seeds are set in our children. This is why HEPs support efforts such as Canada’s ‘Roots of Empathy, the world’s most efficient empathy teaching program, which has helped over 5 lakh school kids.
Beyond education, the prominent challenge is estimating out how social networking technology can control the power of compassion to create mass political activity, but can it persuade us to care intensely about the misery of remote strangers, whether they are drought-struck farmers or future generations who will face the consequences of our carbon-loving lifestyles? This will only happen if social networks learn to reach not just data, but an empathic relationship.
Develop an ambitious imagination:
We also need to empathize with people whose beliefs we don’t share or who may be “enemies” in some way. If you are a campaigner on global warming, for instance, it may be worth trying to step into the shoes of oil company executives—understanding their thinking and motivations—if you want to devise effective strategies to shift them towards developing renewable energy. A little of this “instrumental empathy” (sometimes known as “impact anthropology”) can go a long way.
Empathizing with adversaries is also a route to social tolerance. That was Gandhi’s thinking during the conflicts between Muslims and Hindus leading up to Indian independence in 1947, when he declared, “I am a Muslim! And a Hindu, and a Christian and a Jew.”
The 20th century was the Age of Introspection when self-help and therapy culture encouraged us to believe that the best way to understand who we are and how to live was to look inside ourselves. But it left us gazing at our own navels. The 21st century should become the Age of Empathy when we discover ourselves not simply through self-reflection, but by becoming interested in the lives of others. We need empathy to create a new kind of revolution. Not an old-fashioned revolution built on new laws, institutions, or policies, but a radical revolution in human relationships.
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