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The Importance of Empathy
Created By Lifehacker
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The phrase about walking a mile in someone’s shoes can be directly tied to what empathy is all about. In the midst of life it’s easy to get caught up in your perception of reality without putting much thought into how someone else might be feeling.
“Simply stated, empathy is an active attempt to understand another person’s perspective, their emotions, and in essence their reality” - Lifehacker
Empathy can help bolster your relationships with friends, family, coworkers, and anyone else you come in contact with. Here are some simple habits you can practice to develop empathetic skills:
- Be observant of others - Focusing your attention on others is an easy way to start building empathy. Try to refrain from being judgemental by instead asking yourself what might be causing them to behave the way they are. What experiences and feelings may have led to any decisions or actions they are taking.
- Use active listening - Pause and reflect on what someone has said to you before responding. If you catch yourself tuning out and wanting to share your point of view before the other person has finished their thought, use this realization as an opportunity to listen closer to what the other person is saying instead. This is not only a great skill to build empathy, but it will help you become a better communicator too.
- Open up - Empathy works both ways. When somebody opens up to you about something personal that happened to them, return the favor by sharing something meaningful or similar that you’ve experienced.
“Through the practice of keeping an open mind, empathy helps us challenge prejudice, find commonality, and expand our moral universe.” - Lifehacker