Empathy is known as the ability to understand the feelings and perspectives of others. Empathy also includes showing compassion, which is one of the building blocks of healthy relationships. When we see life from another's point of view, we are better equipped to connect, without judging them on a human level. Empathy leaves a positive impact on our relationships, with ourselves as well as with others.
Being empathetic does not mean that the situations we go through personally, emotionally, socially, spiritually, or financially are the same as others. Andy Puddicombe, who is a former Buddhist priest and co-founder of Headspace, puts it as such. Sometimes, empathy appears to be a feeling of all or nothing.
It is impossible to grade one's ability to notice and empathize with others' sentiments. However, there is good news. Empathy can be developed. Learning how to be more empathic is a life skill that has a wide range of applications.
The better you can connect with and comprehend the emotional love language of your spouse, loved ones, friends, co-workers, and even strangers, the better your relationships. Having empathy for others deeply enriches our lives.
What can you do to be more empathic?
When we begin to process how to be more empathetic, both the cognitive and emotional centers of the brain converge to make sense of complex or challenging circumstances.
The hippocampus and amygdala are parts of the brain's vibrant center or limbic system. This is where our feelings, memories, and sensations are stored.
As per the experts, the empathizing magic happens in the frontal lobe, which contributes to nurturing a high level of emotional intelligence and productive behavior. In this process, one can decipher where their emotions are initially triggered.
Empathy consists of three parts. cognitive, where our ideologies or feelings are manifested, our hierarchy of needs, compassion, and communication where one can vocally express their internal emotional conflicts.
Empathy is partially natural and partly taught, according to various studies. With that being said, the room for improving our degree of empathy is ongoing.
Provided below are eight tips to improve your empathy:
1. Set a goal for yourself.
Take on challenging events that force you to step outside of your comfort zone. For example, learn a new skill, such as a musical instrument, a hobby, or a foreign language. Create a new professional skill set.
2. Get out of your comfort zone.
Traveling to new countries and cultures is a good thing to add to your travel goals. Travel broadens our social and cultural perspective and gives us a different perspective of how other people live and their lifestyles. In short, go out and try to make new friends. Having a small circle of quality friends who love and support you allows for you to spend more quality time together and adds more depth to the friendship. Make sure you check the list of best places to travel for relaxation around the world.
3. Ask for feedback.
Genuine relationships allow one to be emotionally vulnerable to those they love and trust. Request input regarding the depth of your relationship with your loved ones and friends. Having constructive feedback will further nurture your ability to emotionally advocate for yourself and to communicate your social and emotional needs. Be open to advice positively. However, make sure you check for the signs of emotionally co-dependent relationships.
4. Always acknowledge your emotions.
There is validity in the way you feel. Except, be mindful whether you are being emotionally reactive or rational. This will help you make decisions appropriately. Allow your loved ones and friends to meet you where you're at. You don't always have to be the one to initiate meaningful conversations or always mediate the time you spend with your loved ones or friends.
If they genuinely love and support you, they will make an effort to include you, and decide where you fit in the grander scheme of their lives. For example, a thoughtful message, an unexpected gift, card, note, or a surprise birthday party are all nice gestures that indicate your loved ones and friends are considerate and appreciative of all the things you do for them.
In order to be thoughtful, considerate, and supportive of your loved ones and friends, it is important to know their Love Language, social and emotional needs, while empathizing with them during their difficult life challenges.
5. Put yourself in the shoes of others.
Talk to your loved ones and friends regarding your understanding of the way they feel. Also, ask them about their interests, plans, worries, and concerns. They may interpret the depth of your relationship differently than you. Nurture healthy relationships with others by exploring the secrets of a happy relationship.
6. Be mindful of your prejudices or judgments.
We all have hidden biases towards others based on their words and actions. People whose behaviors contradict their words make it difficult to listen to, trust, confide in, count on, devote time to, or sympathize with.
Quite often more than not one's emotional health or conflicts are nurtured by their traumatic childhood, emotional or social experiences.
We are all guilty of having biases and moments where our emotions get the best of us. Controlling our emotions allows us to take better care of our emotional health.
7. Be open-minded and optimistic.
Have an open mind and be more flexible when it comes to your feelings regarding your loved ones and friends' invested time and interest in including you in their lives.
8. Improve your communication and listening skills.
Communication and listening go hand and hand. It is important when we are communicating to also listen. Listening might be more of a challenge for those who make things all about them. These types of individuals lack the empathy to take into consideration the emotional, social needs and feelings of others. This is where the blog on empathy will come in handy.
Empathy is necessary for the development of positive emotional and social connections with our loved ones, friends, and co-workers. People who lack empathy are thought to be self-centered, inconsiderate and typically have more of a difficult time nurturing health or meaningful relationships. Empathy, on the other hand, is associated with warmth and compassion. Get a nice book about empathy and increase your knowledge on the topic to understand it better.
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