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The True Value of Empathy

“When you show deep empathy toward others, their defensive energy goes down, and positive energy replaces it. That’s when you can get more creative in solving problems.”  – Stephen Covey

What Is Empathy?

Born for Love: The Value of Empathy
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The dictionary definition of empathy is: the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.

A more personal definition is that empathy lets us connect with each other and feel connected, accepted, and understood while on the other hand, interacting with people who show a lack of empathy leaves us feeling disconnected and alone.

What Is the True Value of Empathy?

The true value of empathy is that it provides us with a sense of emotional validation.

While it does not help in every situation, showing empathy can relieve tension and anger in a person who is venting or complaining.

And if you are the one venting or complaining, having someone acknowledge your anger – having someone ‘hear’ you and understand you, can help reduce the anger and frustration you are experiencing.

Do I Lack Empathy?

Most people know deep down if they are empathetic or not, but there are tests you can take to assess your level of empathy toward others.

How Can I Be More Empathetic?

To be more empathetic, listen more than you speak. It’s not always easy, because everyone needs to be heard – everyone needs to ‘soft’ end of empathy sometimes.

  • When someone is telling you how they feel or what they think, or what they believe – you don’t have to solve their problems, educate them, or do anything except let them express themselves.
  • Recognize that it’s okay to say, “I understand.” even if you don’t totally understand – or to simply nod as a way to show you hear the person and are not judging them.
  • Think of the most frustrating conversation you ever had with your mother or father or any authority figure who was telling you how to live your life – the reason it was frustrating is most likely due to the fact that – that person was showing a lack of empathy in their dealings wth you.
  • Take an extra second to wish someone you would usually not chat with a good day, or to ask how their day is going.
  • Give a smile to someone who looks crestfallen, if they don’t smile back, don’t sweat it, maybe the memory of your smile will come to them later when they need it most.

I would love to hear what you think…

Do you have any favorite tips for increasing empathy?

Or, do you have any stories about how experiencing a lack of empathy made you feel? 

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-squeaky-wheel/201106/the-antidote-anger-and-frustration