Having and expressing empathy towards others can be difficult for some people. Sometimes you probably use empathy in every day life and don’t even realise you are doing it.
The ability to forget your own views and opinions on a person or situation and see the world through another’s eyes for a short time can be tough. Especially if you are seeing through the eyes of someone who may have hurt or upset you directly.
Being present, focused and open is an important part of empathy. Putting yourself in the shoes of another and trying to understand why they think or feel the way they do can be difficult, but once you master it, it can change the way people see you as a communicator and confidant.
Having empathy for others is a life skill which should be taught to children from a young age. For children to think of how others’ may think or feel in certain moments can help them become caring adults who are able to look at life’s challenges in a much more compassionate way.
Using words like “I understand how you must feel…” when responding in times where anyone confides in you helps that person to trust that you are listening to them and that what they are saying is important to you. Repeating certain facts back and trying to relate their story to your own experiences can also help – not by making the conversation about you, but by showing that you understand the situation which that person may be in.
Personally, I have found empathy as a great tool in understanding why people in my life may have chosen to take certain paths or say certain things. I also think it has made me more compassionate towards the stories of strangers and celebrities who have made mistakes for the world to see and helps me see them as human instead of ‘celebrity’.
In the end, treating others the way you would want to be treated is incredibly true. Use respect and compassion when helping others and try to place yourself in their shoes.
Knowing that others are making an effort to understand us and rather than judge us without waiting is something we all deserve and would appreciate.