Teach Me Empathy
Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of others. Sympathy is the feeling of pity or sorrow for someone else’s misfortune. Do not confuse the two, as having sympathy in a situation which requires empathy can turn out to be an awkward situation.
In this day and age, genuine empathy is difficult to come by; selfishness, loneliness and a competitive society are driving more focus on the self. We are becoming more disconnected by focusing more attention on our issues, rather than showing more concern and care for others.
You will actually like yourself more by being empathetic towards others’ feelings. It feels good to take away attention from “me” and redirect it onto “you.” By listening a little more to what others have to say, you are acting at a higher maturity level, providing you with a sense of calmness and dignity.
By being empathetic towards others, you are reassuring them that someone is listening and caring about what they have to say. The act of listening can go a long way to helping someone with their disappointments, feelings of inadequacy, depressive and anxious states and even suicidal thoughts.
So how do you become empathic? Open your heart and realize that there is more to this world than just “me.” Find a soft spot in your heart that is willing to absorb the concerns of others, without taking it personally. Be willing to understand and relate to somebody else’s stories of pain and suffering; show them that you are human too!
At all costs, avoid superficiality and empty responses; they do nothing to help others feel listened to. Do not offer false praise or hope; this provides misdirection and misguidance. Being empathetic is based on honesty, connection and understanding. It’s taking away attention from “me” and delivering genuine and selfless attention to “you.”
Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)