Do you want to know how to practice empathy?
Are you seeking ways to be a better business owner, entrepreneur, CEO, or regular individual by learning empathy skills?
Empathy is a very important skill that cuts across all works of life, that is business, work, and personal life.
It fosters healthy relationships.
Overall, empathy, makes you a better person capable of building good interpersonal relationships with people around you.
Thereby, helping you create avenues for success in whatever you do.
Read on to find out all you need to know about how to build empathy.
How To Practice Empathy
Empathy is a necessary skill that is required to be a better leader, business owner, manager, employee, or regular individual.
In a nutshell, empathy is a very beneficial and highly required skill in most organizations in this present day.
Before we move on to discover how to practice empathy, let’s discover;
- What is Empathy
- Types Of Empathy
This is so you can have a complete understanding of the concept and how to practice empathy in all your endeavors.
What is Empathy
Empathy is being aware of people’s feelings and understanding their emotions.
In other words, it is using your perception of people’s emotions to guide your behavior in your interpersonal relationships.
This also means putting yourself in someone else’s shoes and feeling exactly what they feel.
This is quite different from showing sympathy.
With empathy, you feel the emotions of others just like you’re experiencing the same thing as them.
On the other hand, sympathy is the act of feeling sorry for someone, especially in a negative situation.
In a nutshell, empathy helps you understand and feel the emotions of others why sympathy helps you feel sorry for others.
However, they both have to do with understanding people’s feelings.
Now you know what empathy is, let’s move on to discuss the different kinds of empathy.
Types Of Empathy
Psychologists have identified different types of empathy and they include;
This is also known as perspective-empathy.
It is putting yourself in someone else’s shoes and seeing things from their perspective.
According to Daniel Goleman, award-winning author of the book Emotional Intelligence, “it is the ability to see through other’s eyes”.
With this kind of skill, you’re able to understand and predict how an individual would react to certain situations.
This is because you’re able to see things according to their perception.
More so, this kind of empathy doesn’t require emotions.
That is you’re not able to feel what they feel but you understand how they feel.
Emotional empathy has to do with understanding people’s emotions such that you feel what they feel.
In this kind of empathy, you feel the emotions of others just as if you share in their experiences.
This is more or less like mirroring the emotions and experiences of others.
In other words, knowing what they feel, how they feel, and feeling the same way too.
Just like the name indicates, this involves being compassionate towards others.
It means understanding people’s emotions, feeling what they feel, and being moved to do something to help them solve their problems.
This is the most appropriate kind of empathy.
More so, it is this kind of empathy that we encourage you to develop and practice in your interpersonal relationships.
Thus helping you to become a better person capable of understanding the emotions of others and acting positively towards them.
Now that you know the different types of empathy, let’s consider how to practice empathy.
Guidelines On How To Practice Empathy
You might be wondering if empathy is a skill that can be learned.
Some people are indeed more empathetic than others.
However, there are ways you can learn to practice empathy and become empathetic even if you don’t possess the skill naturally.
The first and important step to practicing empathy is self-awareness.
Self-awareness means having an understanding of your emotions, character, and feelings.
It is also one of the five components of emotional intelligence.
It would be practically impossible to connect with people and understand their emotions if you’re not in touch with your emotions.
Hence, the need for you to develop self-awareness.
You can achieve self-awareness by questioning yourself objectively.
Ask yourself important questions that would help you discover your true identity and your behavior traits.
You can also ask for feedback and description of your personality from close friends
This is so you can be aware of your emotions and how you react to situations.
You’ll also understand who you are and what makes you who you are.
Therefore, giving you the emotional intelligence to understand people for who they are and what makes them who they are.
Consequently, understand people’s emotions better and empathize with them when necessary.
2Practice Active Listening
To practice empathy, you must be an active listener.
Active listening is the ability to focus on a speaker, understand what is said, and responding thoughtfully.
Active listening is an important path of showing empathy.
This is because it is through active listening that you can understand the emotions of others.
It is also a great way to connect with them to feel what they feel.
So, if you want to practice empathy, you must be an active listener.
Here are a few tips on how to practice active listening.
- give the speaker your undivided attention
- maintain eye contact with the speaker
- give feedback using body language and gestures such as nodding in affirmation etc
- allow the speaker to speak without interruptions
- withhold judgment till the end of the conversation
- respond promptly and appropriately
- ask for clarification when you don’t understand
This way you’ll be fully engaged in the conversation when someone shares his or her feelings or problems with you.
Thereby, helping you to understand and feel their emotions.
Consequently, helping you practice empathy.
3Don’t Be Self-Absorbed
To be self-absorbed means to be overly concerned with yourself.
Due to this, you’re unconcerned with the feelings of people around you.
It is practically difficult to be self-absorbed and to practice empathy.
This is because their focus is on themselves and satisfying their needs at all times.
Hence, making it difficult for them to recognize and understand the emotions of others.
So, to become a more empathetic person, you need to be genuinely interested in other people.
You need to develop a genuine interest in other people and their well-being.
By so doing, you’ll be genuinely concerned with the overall wellbeing of people around you.
Thus helping you recognize and understand the emotions of other people and how best to help them.
Consequently helping you practice empathy.
One other important tip you need to know of that can help you practice empathy is to practice humility.
Humility is the quality of having a modest mindset and behavior.
This is what influences your behavior and relations with people.
Humility doesn’t make you feel more important than the people around you.
Earlier on, we talked about self-absorption which talked about not focusing on yourself alone.
Humility also points in the same direction.
Being humble requires that you don’t think of yourself as more important than other people around you.
Thereby, helping you respect people and their feelings just as you do yourself.
Humility and empathy go hand in hand.
You cannot practice empathy without humility and vice versa.
Hence, if you want to become a more empathetic person you must be humble.
Only this way can you have the heart to genuinely connect with people, recognize their emotions, feel what they feel, and take action to mitigate their problems.
5Develop A Genuine Sense Of Curiosity In Others
Another thing that can help you practice empathy is developing a sense of curiosity for people around you.
Being curious with good intentions about people around you can help you get a glimpse of their world and see things from their point of view.
This would make them connect with you and open up to you.
Thereby, allowing you to share their thoughts, perceptions, and emotions.
Hence, if you want to practice empathy, develop a sense of curiosity to know people and learn more about their lives.
This way chances are that they’ll open up to you and share some of their problems with you.
This would help you recognize, understand their emotions, and offer a helping hand where you can.
Thus helping you practice empathy.
6Imagine Yourself In Other People’s Shoes
Putting yourself in other people’s shoes means imagining yourself in other people’s lives or situations.
This requires you to use your imagination to feel what the other person is feeling even if you’ve not experienced it.
For example, you must not necessarily experience business failure before you can empathize with someone experiencing it.
Also, you don’t have to be homeless before you can empathize with homeless people on the streets.
To empathize with people you must be able to use your imagination to experience what it feels to be them.
This way you can share in their experience, recognize their emotions and feel what they feel.
Hence, to practice empathy, develop your imagination, and imagine yourself in other people’s shoes.
7Don’t Make Assumptions Or Jump To Conclusions About People’s Lives
Being too quick to judge people makes it difficult for you to practice empathy.
It’s very easy to quickly assume and jump to conclusions about the situation of things in people’s lives.
Doing this makes it difficult for you to discover the actual problem with people and empathize with them.
Indeed, some problems in most people’s lives might be self-afflicted.
However, some are caused by negative circumstances and inevitable misfortunes.
So, don’t be quick to make assumptions or jump to conclusions when people experience negative situations in their lives.
Instead, withhold judgment and ask clarifying questions.
This is so you can identify the actual source of pain in their lives.
Thereby, helping you identify, recognize, and understand their emotions.
Consequently, helping you practice empathy.
8Keep An Open Mind (Challenge Personal Bias And Prejudices)
As humans, we are mostly biased.
We tend to hold a certain view about something or personal perspective to most situations and occurrences.
Due to this, we keep a closed mind towards certain people especially of a particular race, tribe, religion, or gender.
This can make it difficult to listen to people and practice empathy as an individual.
For example, you could have issues trusting people from a particular region or tribe.
This could be because of certain negative things you might have heard about people from that particular region.
Due to this, you hold a certain negative view or perception of people from that region.
This makes it difficult for you to listen to them and empathize with them when necessary.
You’ll need to break these prejudices and personal biases.
Rather than that, search for things you share in common with them.
Thereby helping you find common ground to relate and connect with them despite your differences.
Consequently, helping you understand people better and practice empathy.
9Explore New Environments
The last important tip to keep in mind to practice empathy is by exploring new environments.
This means that you could take time out to visit places that will allow you to meet with people on a different level.
For example, you could take a trip to the elderly’s home, orphanage home, and other less privileged environments.
Thus helping you see life from another angle.
This would widen your experience with people, help you appreciate and respect people better.
It would also help you share their experience, recognize their emotions, and have a feeling of what life is for them.
Hence, helping you develop concern for them and empathize with them.
Thus making you willing to offer a helping hand to mitigate their problems.
So to practice empathy, explore new places that are different from your usual environment.
Benefits Of Practising Empathy
Why is empathy such an important concept?
Why is it worth it to develop empathy?
Here are some of the unique benefits of developing and practicing empathy.
Empathy helps you build better and stronger relationships
By practicing empathy you’ll be able to connect with people easily on a very deep level.
This is because listening to people without being judgemental makes it easy for people to open up to you.
Thereby, helping you build lasting relationships where people trust you with their feelings and/or emotions.
You’ll be a happier person
Being good and helpful to people brings about positive feelings such as inner peace, joy, and a sense of fulfillment.
As an empathetic individual, you’re able to bring happiness to the people around you.
This directly or indirectly brings happiness to you as well.
For instance, knowing that someone could feel better after sharing their emotions with you would make you feel happy that you were able to help someone mitigate their problems.
Empathy makes you a better leader, business owner, partner, or employee
Whatever you are, leader or employee, you can do a lot better with empathy.
As an empathic leader, you’re able to share in the feelings and emotions of your followers.
Thereby, making helping you build trust as a leader.
Also, as an empathetic employee, you’ll be able to ensure peaceful and stronger working relationships in your workplace.
Empathy helps you to be emotionally intelligent
Empathy is one of the important components of emotional intelligence.
It helps you to be aware of the emotions of the people around you.
Thereby serving as a guide for behavior and helping you navigate your interpersonal relationships.
Conclusion On How To Practice Empathy
That’s it on how to practice empathy.
Now you understand what empathy is.
You also know the different kinds of empathy as well as how to practice empathy.
As important as empathy skill is to every aspect of life, it is sad to say that most people lack empathy.
This could be because of their bad childhood experiences or other negative experiences as they go through life.
Nevertheless, one can learn to practice empathy and become a better person overall.
This is why you should use these tips and learn how to practice empathy.
This is so you can be a better business owner, CEO, manager, employee, or a regular individual.
It can be hurtful and frustrating when people around you do not understand you.
Hence, the need for one to develop empathy skills.
When was the last time you tried to tell someone how you felt about a particular situation but didn’t get the attention you needed?
Did you feel bad?
Do you feel empathy is the same as sympathy?
Share your thoughts with us in the comment section below.
We would love to hear from you.