Empathy is the practice of sharing other person’s feelings.
It is a two way street. At best, empathy is reciprocal. It is a wonderful thing to give empathy and a very delightful experience to receive it too.
In personal life, professional life as well as social life, empathy or lack thereof, makes a huge difference.
A recent people survey concluded that 85% of the people desire to be more empathetic.
Highly empathetic people are sensitive, intuitive and very charismatic. 9/10 people find that they are better persons when they practice empathy and it is not surprising at all that 10/10 people said they benefit from other people’s empathy. Empathy can be developed. But how? Let’s see below
Become in tune with yourself and others around you.
People tend to gravitate towards others that provide them the space to be themselves and express themselves fully.
Look for emotions and vulnerability.
These are the signs that a person needs a helping hand. They are the most receptive during times like these. Also, don’t be afraid to show your own vulnerability. It helps build trust.
Imagine yourselves in other’ shoes.
We only see the outer expression of people. Empathy is going a level deeper and trying to understand the ‘why’ behind the ‘what’.
Listen more than you speak.
When we listen, we are allowing others to speak and express themselves. This allows them to feel lighter and better. Once they’re done speaking, they are more receptive to our advice and / or opinion.
Don’t make assumptions.
When we start assuming, we let assumptions take the place of factuality. In any relationship, trust is a must and assumptions kill that.
When empathy is sought after, why is it not a norm yet?
There are a few challenges in practicing empathy my opinion:
1. It is time consuming. In today’s world, waiting is wasting.
We have no patience, and unfortunately, understanding someone’s viewpoint, doesn’t fit well with our ‘drive thru’ mentality. Being empathetic, requires us to give 100% attention to the other person.
2. It requires us to let go of our ego.
When we are looking at things from other person’s point of view, we have to let go of our point of view, which is not always very intuitive nor is it easy.
3. It requires us to be forgiving.
Sometimes when we have a history of hurt or misunder- standing with the other person, be it at work or at home, it becomes difficult to let go of that memory and listen to them wholeheartedly.
Empathy is going to be even more important in the days to come, since remote work is going to be even more prominent post the pandemic.
In the near future, it is going to be more critical than ever that teams operate in sync despite the physical distance and for that trust building is going to be a must.
Empathy will help build that bridge between remote teams and the organization, since it is impossible to automate or outsource empathy.
“You can only understand people if you can
understand the intensity of their feelings.”