Why Is Empathy Important?
Congratulations on being an overachiever. I’m sure you were able to reach close to that dream life you’ve always wanted. But there’s something we tend to forget whenever we are on our path to greatness; Empathy. More to that, remember that there’s a huge difference between empathy and sympathy as we will discuss in this article.
Empathy is simply being able to understand what other people feel and be aware of their thoughts. This is probably one of the most important skills you need as a person. It’s not only for building and maintaining a healthy relationship. Empathy will help you achieve even greater success in your life.
Most successful people don’t really get along with a team. And it can hinder them from reaching their goals. Businessmen and women with poor people relationship are unable to avoid unnecessary conflicts. It can be exhausting and sometimes it can even destroy a well laid out work plan.
Empathy is the link between yourself and your workmates. Actually, it’s one of the key components when it comes to emotional intelligence. That’s because it’s the general ability to understand what other people are feeling as if you are actually experiencing the same.
So, Why Is Empathy Important?
Humans are more or less selfish creatures. We are always bound to acting cruelly towards others. Just take a look at the daily newspaper and you will quickly witness the fact that humans are capable of heinous acts without thought. But at the same time, we are very social animals.
There’s no one who hasn’t made even one connection with the people around them. It’s important to understand that this connection is based solely on understanding what the other person is feeling. On top of that, heroism and altruism are closely connected to empathy.
For you to even take a bullet for someone you care about means that you are empathetic (forget about paid bodyguards). When we take part in social relationships, it helps us have an easier and better lifestyle. We can easily understand what the other party are feeling and in other cases, they also get the chance to understand what we feel.
Why Do We Lack Empathy?
As I was walking past a beggar on the street, one of my friends was so cruel to the guy that I had to defend him. That’s actually what led me to write this piece. I couldn’t understand how it’s possible for someone to show empathy on his fellow workmates but disregard a helpless beggar. That bothered me for a while before I actually got the chance to really understand what was going on.
So, why do we lack empathy especially towards certain people? Well, that depends on a number of factors. Our own past experiences, expectations and blaming other people’s predicament contribute a lot to our empathy.
But when it comes down to the most basic understanding, our empathy depends highly on socialization and in some rare cases genetics. Our old relatives play a key role in our nature and nurture so they also contribute to how we show empathy.
More importantly, our parents pass down genes that will one day contribute to our personality which includes how we show empathy, sympathy and compassion. So, how we treat others is often a reflection of all the teachings we were taught while growing up. But, if you have noticed that you are not empathetic to certain people, then you can easily break the cycle if you wish it. Keep on reading and I’ll show you how.
What’s The Difference Between Empathy And Sympathy?
It’s easy to confuse between empathy and sympathy because they almost mean the same thing. But these two attributes are quite different. Sympathy is actually understanding other people and feeling sorrowful for their misfortune.
On the other hand, empathy is only being able to understand what other people are going through and actually feel exactly what they feel. As you can see, there’s a clear line between the two. But in most cases, both empathy and sympathy go together.
So, what if you are not empathetic, how can you fix that? Well, it’s not something that will come easy. If you’ve never tried understanding other people’s situation and actually feel what they feel, then you have a long way to go. Regardless, here are some basic tips that will surely get you started.
Tips On How To Be Empathetic To Your Co-Workers, Friends And Family
1. Empathy: Put Yourself In Their Shoes
The easiest way to actually understand what someone else is going through is putting yourself in their shoes. Take a moment and understand what is really happening to them. They might be going through a difficult situation or the pressure is too much for them to bare.
Maybe there’s a little issue that might have led them to where they are today. You will never be able to make a conclusion without fully understanding what he or she is going through. This will also give you the chance to actually understand their emotions.
2. Show Concern And Care
Whenever someone opens up and tells you their problems, there a high chance that they need that emotional support. Show them that you are concerned by asking questions such as, how are you feeling? What can I do to help? You can also simply be there so that they don’t feel alone.
3. Acknowledge That Other People Have Feelings Too
The biggest communication problem that most people have is that they don’t really acknowledge what others feel. Being able to acknowledge what someone else feels will help them deal with the situation. Also, how you respond to them will make them feel more at ease. For instance, Relax, Take a minute and breathe.
With all the above in mind, you will always be able to understand your workmates. On top of that, you will be able to reduce conflicts both at home and in your workspace. Remember, the idea is not to judge them for their decisions or for their experiences.
Also, keep in mind that no one is perfect and what might seem like a simple thing to you is a huge deal to someone else. I guarantee you that you will be able to build long lasting business relationships this way.