Empathy, unlike its cousin word sympathy, is one of the noblest yet hardest qualities to exercise. However, you may make it perfect with some practice and having an understanding of yourself. It means to walk in someone else’s shoes by feeling their state and thinking from their perspective. Instead of feeling sorry for them, you try connecting with the other individual on a deeper level and trying to form a deeper meaning behind their struggle.
Kinds of Empathy
There are different kinds of empathy. Affective empathy consists of feeling the emotions of another person and taking immediate action that suits their state. Somatic empathy is the one in which you are able to feel someone’s state on a psychological and somatic level as if you are experiencing those situations yourself. Cognitive empathy is another type of empathy that involves having an understanding of someone’s reaction to a situation.
Characteristics of an Empathic Person
- An empathic person is humble, helpful, and understanding.
- They are active listeners, and their body language is accommodative, i.e. they try their best to make you feel comfortable and heard.
- They are known to be sensitive, which makes them more responsive to others’ emotions and feelings.
Characteristics of an Unempathic Person
- Lack of “emotional connection,” unable to feel “being in his shoes.”
- Labeling others extensively as sensitive and minimizing their feelings.
- Finding it extremely hard to admit when wrong
- Cannot handle emotional situations, which often leads to problems in relationships.
Not having empathy has a detailed spectrum. Very few people are completely incapable of being empathic. That is a distinct neurological condition commonly known as a narcissistic personality disorder, sociopathy, and psychopathy.
How to Become More Empathic
- Try listening to other people actively and mindfully without cutting them off mid-sentence. You will have a strong urge to interrupt, especially in emotional situations, but practice first listening without rehearsing any answer in your mind.
- Do not think that a particular situation would not have affected you so or to such a degree; instead, look for patterns or reasons why that person feels a certain way.
- Picture yourself in their shoes and let go of any biases
- Be kind and compassionate and let the other person “speak their heart freely” and make them feel safe, heard, and understood
- Do not minimize the other person’s feelings. It’s not good to cut them off by saying, “look at the bright side” or “it is not that bad.” Remember, it is a kind of breathing but with words; let them flow to you, and remember it’s a skill that comes on its own; the more you will practice, the better you will connect.
These are some points you need to know about empathy – its types, characteristics, and absence of it. It is one of the most valued qualities in a human, and people who are empathic are special in their own way. If you are looking for some places which help to nurture you with an empathic environment, then look for community classes or gatherings, such as Boost Fitness Studio, which helps you experience self-empowerment in an uplifting community.