Empathy is one of the most important traits in any human being – but there is a common misconception that you either have empathy, or you don’t. Empathy is an extremely complex personality trait that we all have within us, but it is more prevalent in some people than others. If you’re going through changes in your life, or want to improve your empathy, there are some easy ways to become more empathetic and become better at actually showing emotion to people. Just follow these easy steps.
Be able to shhhhh!
It may sound pretty silly, but part of being empathetic is knowing when to shut up. Many of us spend all of our time talking that we forget to listen to the people around us – even the ones that are standing right in front of us! Becoming more empathetic means that you need to be able to shush, open your ears and actually listen to the thoughts, feelings, and opinions that other people have. This shows the other person that you have a real interest in their life, and what is going on with them. If you were to dismiss their thoughts and continue talking about yourself or your own values, they’d dismiss you as an unempathetic person.
Be present at all times
There is nothing worse than trying to have a conversation with someone who is constantly looking at their phone, typing an email or doing their own work at the same time. You wouldn’t want it to happen to you, so why would you do it to someone else? Body language is a huge part of empathy, and you need to be present with the other person at all times to show that you have true empathy. If you are distracted, you can’t show your own emotions or interact with others’ emotions. So put down your phone, turn to face them and look them in the eyes. Be present!
Express your own views
We’ve already discussed the importance of listening to others speak – but what’s equally as important is how you react to that. To show true empathy, you need to express your own views and perspective on the situation the other person is talking about. This could be expressing what you’d do or how you’d feel if you were in the same situation as them, or it could be agreeing with them. Saying things like ‘I can’t believe you went through that, that makes me so angry’ or ‘I can imagine that must make you feel incredibly sad.’ Acknowledge their feelings and express your own.
Challenge your own conversation
When working with the same people every day, you can often find yourself falling into a routine of conversation. But one way to exude empathy is to challenge your own conversation. Try and delve deeper with a colleague, and open up conversations about personal matters (without being too intrusive) you memories, or your experiences in life. This will often result in your colleague following suit, which not only means a deep and meaningful conversation but also means a deeper connection to those around you.
Give others recognition
We live in a world of competition – but we don’t need to! A true empathetic person will congratulate and give recognition to those who deserve it, rather than put them down. When working with others who contribute to the team and excel in their own individual role, thank them and acknowledge them for their hard work. It will pay off in the end!
Increasing your empathy doesn’t need to be difficult – follow these simple hacks to show others your emotions. One of the biggest factors in showing empathy is to listen to other people, and make it obvious that you’ve heard what they’ve said. It’s fine to respond with your own thought on the matter, or even to give an example of when something similar has happened in your own life, but whatever you do, do not make it all about you. If you asked someone a question, keep the conversation focused on them, their feelings and their experiences, not yours.