Last update: 28 March, 2016
Empathy is a trait that many people have always had, but that others need to adopt. Empathizing means understanding why the person in front of us acts in a certain way. We know how to understand it.
This does not mean that we agree with the other person, but simply that we know how to read in her the reason why she acts in a certain way, going beyond appearances.
“The ability to put yourself in others' shoes is one of the most important functions of intelligence. It demonstrates the degree of maturity of the human being ”.
Empathy not only helps us in our relationships with others, it also helps ourselves in a direct way. Start putting it into practice right away.
Enhance your empathy!
If you are already an empathic person, you must learn to improve this quality, in order to make the most of it. If, on the other hand, it is difficult for you to be empathetic with others, it's time to try to put yourself in the shoes of alters.
It is not an easy exercise, but neither is it impossible. To empathize, it is enough to start observing, put aside your self, your point of view and start looking at the world with different eyes.
Some people do this automatically, but for others it is a very difficult habit to adopt. However, with time and practice, you will succeed. In the meantime… do you want to know how to improve your empathy?
- Observation is one of the most important steps empathy, especially the study of non-verbal behaviors. It is possible that a person is saying something, but their non-verbal language is communicating entirely different information. Analyzing the gestures and movements of your interlocutor can be very useful, as they reflect his emotions and deepest feelings about him.
- Listening is also very important: both listening to verbal and non-verbal communication. It is much more important to listen to your interlocutor than to speak. Thanks to active listening and observation, you will be able to put yourself in the shoes of the person in front of you and understand them.
- Understanding is the last step to improving empathy, because by observing and listening to your interlocutor, you will realize that you understand what is going through, even if you do not share it. Not sharing a behavior does not imply judging the other, but rather understanding it, opening one's mind and allowing the other to enter. Respect certain behavior and understand it, even if you disagree.
Being empathic means being able to immerse yourself in the emotional world of the other, but without drowning in it.
Understanding fosters empathy
It is not possible to be empathetic if you do not respect, nor understand, the reactions and behaviors of others. Never judge because, perhaps, one day you too will do just what you are criticizing now.
Opening your mind and understanding what you don't share will allow you to learn a little more about personal relationships and it will help you to be more empathetic with others.
Whether you are naturally empathic, or are striving to be, in order to empathize with others you must always keep the following points in mind:
- Look at your interlocutor with interest.
- Control your emotions, and if you disagree with something, don't show it.
- Make it clear to the other that you understand his situation.
- Dig deeper into the information provided by your interlocutor.
- Show your support.
All of this will help you understand the other person and make them feel comfortable. It's something you also need when you want to be understood: someone who knows and can be empathetic towards you.
“Usually, for people who are rigid, inflexible, arrogant, authoritative… it is very difficult to be empathetic, to understand what those around them are experiencing. They have lost their ability to observe and, with this, their ability to understand ".
Maria Jesus Alava Reyes
Sometimes it is very difficult to be empathetic with others, and this happens when pain and disappointment arise. These negative emotions are much stronger than sensitivity, which is why you lose the right perspective and the necessary empathy.
It is possible to learn to be empathic, but you have to make an effort and practice observation, active listening and understanding. Do you want to learn to understand others? Do you want to know how to understand different behaviors? This ability will enrich both you and your interpersonal relationships.