How To Be More Empathetic
I think that one of the biggest things the world suffers from today is a lack of empathy. I am an empathetic person, so this is not a struggle for me. Plus, all of my friends are empathetic. This year has been the best year of my life. While I had been living a life in which I ensured that my inner circle was correct and up to par, I still kept acquaintances who were not very empathetic. This year, those went, too. I even switched churches this year. I went full circle and it has been amazing.
Empathy is not giving everyone the benefit of the doubt, nor is it making excuses for people. If you are an empathetic person, I encourage you to ensure that you are not the only person giving empathy. Rather, the people around you should understand the concept as well.
Empathy is the ability to see things from the other person’s point of view with sympathy and understanding. Often, people are good at shouting their own points, but are you capable of seeing someone else’s point of view from where they stand? Here are some steps you can take to become a more empathetic person.
- What if what was being said or done was happening to you? What if the rude comment you just made, or the attempt to hurt someone else’s self-worth, was directed at you? Could you handle it? How would you feel? Literally, in your mind, switch places with the person. What if they said what you just said to them? If you would be really upset, that is your new foundation for what you should and should not say or do to other people.
- Understand this person’s perspective. You may not agree with it but attempt to understand why they feel the way they feel. Don’t brush the other person’s feelings under the carpet. A while ago, I was speaking to someone about race relations and she said okay, but what about? Well, don’t brush what was said under the carpet. Instead, talk about something that makes you feel uncomfortable. That’s a part of empathy – understanding and addressing the feelings and emotions of the other person. Answer the question asked of you. If you are bold enough to expect that your question of equal or increasing aggression will be answered, please make sure that you have the balls to answer the questions asked of you.
- Get to know people individually. I have had bad experiences with women, men, black, white, Asian, but it’s crazy how I have friends in all those categories. Understand that part of empathy is getting to know each person individually. You don’t have the right to assume that everyone in one people group is the same. As an empathetic person, you must understand that each group and color is unique and that one type of person does not reside in one whole race.
- A huge part of empathy is humility. I will be writing a post on humility, including what it is and what it is not. To grow in empathy, you must be humble – humble enough to be wrong and make changes.
As you can see, empathy and humility are not for the faint of heart. Only the bravest can handle this type of work. It takes nothing to be arrogant and hurtful to others; ANYONE can do that. Instead, I encourage you to be the best you can be. That starts with self-love.