Cultivating Empathy

I have a tendency to do too many things at once and get paralyzed because I then end up doing none of them. I am definitely a jack of all trades and master of none. And that’s being generous in thinking that I am a jack of ‘all trades’.

So when I get into moods of introspection and discover all my flaws – I want to fix them all! But we can’t be perfect and we only have limited energy. So I am going to focus on improving my empathy.

Empathy is a key trait of Emotionally Intelligent people. And emotional intelligence leads to success.

So here is a quick summary of a few youtubes I watched:

The Power of Empathy by Dr. Brene Brown (A researcher’s perspective)

Empathy includes:
– perspective taking
– staying out of judgment
– recognizing emotion
– communicating that back to them

As Dr. Brene Brown puts it – it’s climbing down the hole someone is in and being with them.

Sympathy on the other hand is looking down the hole and offering them a sandwich

Empathy means not trying to put a silver lining on what people say – trying to put a positive spin on something negative. For example saying ‘At least you have all your limbs! to someone that just sprained their ankle, doesn’t help.

Rather than trying to say something to make the person feel better, saying ‘I don’t know what to say, but I am so glad you shared that with me’ will do more to make that person feel better – forming a connection makes people feel better not responses.

The 6 Habits of Highly Empathetic People by Roman Krznaric (Empathy with an agenda!)

Even 2 year olds are capable of empathy. Empathy is innate in humans
Part of being empathetic is being able to look beyond the labels we put on others such as ‘Muslim Extremist’ or ‘Greedy Banker’. It is about challenging prejudices and finding commonalities. Anticipating others’ needs, and sharing your own emotions within a conversation. And in extreme cases living like another person such as a disenfranchised population.

5 Steps for How to develop empathy by Teresa Torres (A business perspective)

Empathy requires you to be aware of and accept your own emotions. To be empathetic you need to be able to detect the emotions others are feeling and finally you need to be able to feel / know how it feels to experience the emotion you detect in others. The best advice from this is spending time with people that are different than you and trying to connect with them.

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