Has anyone ever told you, “you should try to be more empathetic“? Or maybe there’s someone in your life experiencing hardship and you want to know how to help them.
Empathy is an important tool that we can define as the ability to understand or share the feelings and experiences of others. It’s a way to strengthen the existing relationships in our lives while forging new friendships and bettering the world around us.
If you’re interested in learning how to be more empathetic, you’ve come to the right place. Keep reading for four tips designed to help you understand and practice empathy in your everyday life.
1. Learn to Listen
It might sound silly at first. Of course you know how to listen! But there’s a major difference between the neurological act of hearing something and the emotional act of understanding it.
Someone looking for ways to be more empathetic will want to practice what’s known as active listening.
Active listening means you’re engaged with what the other person is saying. You’re not only hearing what they have to say, but you’re doing your best to put yourself in their shoes.
You can practice active listening by maintaining eye contact during conversations, maintaining open and warm body language, using nonverbal cues like nodding, and repeating or rephrasing what the speaker says.
Once you can really listen to someone, it’s much easier to understand their point of view.
2. Keep an Open Mind
It’s difficult to approach a situation from a place of empathy if you walk in with preconceived notions.
As you start having more difficult conversations and continue practicing empathy, do your best to catch any biases you might have. Acknowledge them and look deep within yourself to figure out why you might feel that way.
Then, and only then, can you start to understand someone else.
3. Ask Questions
If there’s one thing to take away from this article, it’s that you can learn from anyone and everyone. While you’re practicing active listening, make a habit of asking questions, as they can tell you a lot about someone.
Say a friend is having a bad day, for example. They’re telling you about a stressful experience at work. Asking a question like, “Which part of that was toughest?” can help you figure out how to better support that person when a similar situation pops up in the future
4. Aim to Learn
No matter how empathetic we strive to be, it’s important to keep in mind that we all have different experiences. But despite who you are or where you come from, we’re all human, as this beautiful video from kabirsvoice.com points out.
Becoming more empathetic means learning from those around you.
Don’t be afraid to break out of your comfort zone and learn about what others are going through.
Learn How to Be More Empathetic Today
Empathy is a vastly underutilized skill, but it’s never too late to learn how to be more empathetic. Follow the tips above, and if nothing else, remember to treat every situation as a learning opportunity.
For more tips on becoming your best self, make sure to check back with our blog!