Why Empathy Is Your Most Important Skill (and How to Practice It)
the action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experience of another of either the past or present without having the feelings, thoughts, and experience fully communicated in an objectively explicit manner-Merriam Webster
Why Practice Empathy?Why should you explicitly work to enhance your ability to empathize with others?
- You will be more likely to treat the people you care about the way they wish you would treat them.
- You will better understand the needs of people around you.
- You will more clearly understand the perception you create in others with your words and actions.
- You will understand the unspoken parts of your communication with others.
- You will better understand the needs of your customers at work.
- You will have less trouble dealing with interpersonal conflict both at home and at work.
- You will be able to more accurately predict the actions and reactions of people you interact with.
- You will learn how to motivate the people around you.
- You will more effectively convince others of your point of view.
- You will experience the world in higher resolution as you perceive through not only your perspective but the perspectives of those around you.
- You will find it easier to deal with the negativity of others if you can better understand their motivations and fears. Lately when I find myself personally struggling with someone, I remind myself to empathize and I immediately calm myself and accept the situation for what it is.
How to PracticeHere are a few ideas on how to develop your empathy.
Watch and Wonder
Know Your Enemies
If you're like me, just going through this exercise (maybe a couple of times with the same subject) can greatly reduce your frustration and anxiety over some of the most stressful inter-personal situations. It may sound obvious, but doing it is very different from understanding how it could work.