Empathy is the ability to understand someone’s emotions and feelings as your own.
You should be able to put yourself in their shoes and look at their situations and feelings from their state of mind to get a complete understanding. It is one of the most important qualities that a human can possess.
Many people often get confused between sympathy and empathy. ‘Sympathy’ means to feel concerned about someone’s issues and problems but not to be able to necessarily connect with their emotions and feel what they are going through. It’s not as deep as empathy.
‘Sympathy’ simply is a good trait, nonetheless, but it’s only through empathy that you can truly help someone.
Sometimes, a person who is suffering from a problem cannot figure out a solution because their mind gets hazy with all their troubles and sorrows.
If you lend an empathetic ear to someone, you help them by easing their burden. It is also very possible that by getting a new perspective towards their situation, you can suggest them a solution that they might not have thought of.
As an average human starts spending time with people, it’s natural for him to cultivate empathy for them. A reassuring touch and an empathic ear can go a long way in healing someone.
Empathy is required to form any basic human bond. All of us want someone who is not only non-judgemental but carries a great deal of empathy inside them. It is what separates an acquaintance from a stranger; a friend from a foe.
Empathy is categorised into 3 types:
1. Cognitive Empathy
Cognitive Empathy deals with understanding someone’s problems and issues. It involves being able to get a clear perspective regarding what the person is going through, and listening to them with a non-judgemental mind.
2. Emotional Empathy
Emotional Empathy deals with not only understanding someone’s problems but also being able to feel their emotions as your own. Emotionally empathetic people are quite sensitive, and they have a better understanding of human emotions than others.
3. Compassionate Empathy
Compassionate Empathy deals with not only understanding someone’s problems and feeling their emotions but also helping the person to take the necessary steps to get better.
Empathy is a miracle given to humanity. As one goes through the monotony of life, they often forget the power they hold to change the world. Considering themselves ordinary, they keep all their abilities suppressed. So, it is important to become aware of how empathetic you can be, and start putting your trait to the best use.
Here are the five incredible things that happen when you practice empathy.
1. Popularity comes knocking at your door.
As you start practicing empathy, you become famous among your friends. Due to your compassionate listening skills, they start visiting you often to feel better. An empathetic person loves helping people out, so you may enjoy being the center of attention among your friends.
The best way to approach someone is by finding similarities and accepting differences. Moreover, an open mind should be kept while interacting with someone, as it will help you to understand someone’s life without having pre-conceived notions and ideas. A good human interaction shouldn’t be tainted with the intervention of a judgemental mind.
99% of Americans feel at least some level of empathy.
Empathy helps to get rid of selfishness and encourages us to immerse our time in getting to know another person. It involves going beyond the human barriers and forming a strong bond with another person. Empathy plays an important role in not only helping another person feel better, but it can be a natural therapy for an empathetic person as well.
Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.
Do you know that empathy plays a big role in forming better business leaders?
An empathetic and compassionate leader learns to let go of their ego and approach the employees from a place of humility. It ultimately leads the employees to give their 100% to their job and working with higher motivation and dedication.
It makes an empathetic leader more successful than the rest. A positive and work-oriented atmosphere is created in the workplace impacting the workers psychologically.
Such a positive atmosphere will increase the number of healthy workers. In fact, empathy is one of the top 8 traits required for being a good leader.
2. You will be sought to resolve conflicts.
If a fight breaks out, people expect someone wise to interfere and stop the conflict.
An empathetic person is considered wise because of his grasp over his emotions as well as a clear understanding of another human’s feelings. So, he will be expected to take up the role of an elder in such troublesome situations.
Empathy is about standing in someone else's shoes, feeling with his or her heart, seeing with his or her eyes. Not only is empathy hard to outsource and automate, but it makes the world a better place.
There is an increase in the number of conflicts in countries where basic empathy is lacking among people. As ego and apathy are two determining factors of human behaviour, no one tries to stop the conflicts that erupt.
Such an attitude can be extremely cataclysmic for the country and its growth.
It’s the reason that most third-world countries suffer from conflict manufactured in their very own country.
Ecuador is the most empathetic country.
3. You get to know more about people.
Due to your non-judgemental and empathetic attitude, people will prefer opening up to you more. ‘Trust’ is earned, and an empathetic person is certainly a trustworthy person.
By the end of a heart-to-heart session, you might be aware of a person’s past, present as well as future. You may even start understanding a person better than they know themselves.
We must learn to regard people less in the light of what they do or omit to do, and more in the light of what they suffer.
Some people are in their shell, and it takes work to bring them out. As you put your empathy to use, they realize that you are a kind human with whom they can open up and share their deepest hopes and despairs.
A study revealed that a person with good empathy skills has a female brain!
They are considered to be empathizers and are gentler towards other people. As we know, females bond by sharing their stories and supporting each other, whereas this kind of behavior is not seen among males (generally).
Mostly, women are the ones who are empathizers, as men are more inclined in their life to cars, machinery, and similar objects.
Women spend their childhood playing with dolls and engaging in more ‘conversational’ games like playing teacher or acting like a housewife.
No matter how grossly stereotyped it might seem, but that’s what the study has revealed. Moreover, parents are rougher with their sons, as they are expected to be tough.
On the other hand, they treat their daughters gently because they are considered fragile and sensitive. So, much of our empathy-related skills are also influenced by how we’ve been brought up.
The difference between a boy and a girl’s empathizing skills is shown in the following chart.
But it’s not impossible for a guy to feel empathy. As he engages with more people and makes deliberate efforts to not only understand others but to understand his emotions as well, he can be as empathetic as any female.
Empathy is a gender-neutral trait; it is not to be governed by your sex. However, it is labeled as something that girls can practice and understand better than boys.
4. You get the superpower of predicting someone’s thoughts and behaviors.
By spending time with people and observing them closely, you become acquainted with their emotions and feelings. It helps you to predict their thoughts and behaviors, as you become peculiarly aware of how they deal with various situations, and what exactly they need to feel better. It will help you to deal with the people in a better way, as you will be able to envision their reactions beforehand.
Change begins with understanding and understanding begins by identifying oneself with another person: in a word, empathy. The arts enable us to put ourselves in the minds, eyes, ears and hearts of other human beings.
There are various ways through which you can develop empathy. It’s been proved that meditation makes you more empathetic.
Meditation is a cure offered by the cosmos to humanity. It’s wonderful to heal all our inner wounds and giving birth to new traits inside us as well. As you bring your focus inside yourself, you develop greater understanding towards human emotions. Meditation encourages bringing all your attention inwards.
An empathic person spends a great deal of time in introspection. Spending time with oneself is different from being self-centred.
Self-orientation involves understanding your emotions and behaviour - it teaches us how to understand someone else’s feelings as well.
Empathetic people have more functioning in their right parietal lobe which is also responsible for increasing self-focus.
Some people have an 'empathy switch' which they can turn on and off at will.
In fact, literature has proved useful for enhancing empathy inside a human. When you read well-written characters, they help you to understand humans and how they work. You get to penetrate inside the mind of a particular character and to see the world through his eyes.
By trying to understand someone else’s point of view, you develop patience and the will to understand something new.
This trait extends to the real world as well where you meet plenty of people—some good, some bad — and they enable you to try and see the world from their perspective as well.
5. You become a good team player.
Besides dedication, hard work, and good skills, there is another thing which is required for being a good team player. It’s empathy.
There should be no competition among the people belonging to the same team, and they should be there for each other during the good and the bad times. A good team is like a family in which people stick together and understand each other.
It’s a disease. Nobody thinks or feels or cares anymore; nobody gets excited or believes in anything except their own comfortable little God damn mediocrity.
The difference between a good and a bad team is the level of empathy the members carry. Instead of criticizing each other and letting ego rule you, you should be able to help out your fellow members by getting a deeper insight into their minds.
Not only will it help you to see the wide range of human emotions, but you will also be able to create strategies for your work through it.
Providing the right task to the right person, while considering their strengths and limitations is the sign of a good team player and a good leader.
The 'identifiable victim effect" is the key to engaging empathy.
We can become a wholly developed human being only when we can cultivate various good traits inside us.
It’s of no use to buy gifts for your friends when you do not spend two minutes of your life talking to them.
No matter how much charity you do, it’s hollow until you feel the pain and despondency of the sufferers. You can spend your entire life earnings over your family, but it’s nothing compared to understanding their needs and emotions correctly.
You can spend your entire life earnings over your family, but it’s nothing compared to understanding their needs and emotions correctly.
Empathy is not all about giving. It also involves receiving. You receive the trust of people. You gain knowledge about people as you observe them. You can even use your empathy to become a successful life coach, psychologist, writer, and the like.
In a world surrounded by chaos and conceitedness, you can become a ray of hope and reduce the pain inflicted by the apathy of incalculable people.
So, are you ready to wear your invisible cape and acquire such a big role?