Can you increase your empathy?
Empathy and sympathy are often confused. So, what’s the difference? Sympathy is when you feel sorry for or care about someone else’s troubles. Empathy is when you share someone else’s feelings or emotions and you are able to put yourself in their shoes.
There are two different types of empathy. Affective empathy is when you are able to share someone else’s feelings and experiences. Cognitive empathy is the skill of understanding someone else’s emotions but not necessarily sharing the same feelings.
Empathy is not a “you have it or you don’t” type of thing. As long as you have the motivation to improve, you can!
WiZdoms for increasing your levels of empathy:
- Active listening: Listen without the intent to respond. When having a conversation try not to think about anything else besides what the other person is saying. Make sure you acknowledge what they are saying both through body language (e.g., nod your head) and by repeating back something that you heard. “I understand, you’re feeling ______”
- Practice, Practice, Practice! Listen to the episode for scenarios you can use to practice empathy in different settings. The more you practice, the more your empathy will improve.
- Be curious about strangers: Take an interest in learning about people and their experiences.
- Get rid of assumptions: Try to find common ground with everyone, even people you might disagree with.
- Shut up and listen! Acknowledge another person’s point of view. You might even learn something!
How do you practice empathy? Let us know by leaving us a voicemail at 1-646-653-9278 or sending us a message here.