How to Show Empathy
Have you ever wondered how to show empathy?
Empathy is a buzzword that is often thrown around in today’s society.
I consider it the ‘meditation‘ of our time.
Not too long ago, people thought meditation was some kind of joke.
But after a while, the doubters came around & saw value in it.
The same thing is happening with the word ’empathy.’
But what exactly is it?
It’s a word like ‘confidence.’
You ever heard the phrase, ‘Just be more confident?’
Well, sure. But what the fuck is confidence??
Nowadays, you hear, ‘Show some empathy.’
Well, sure. But what the fuck is empathy?
This article is going to help you understand more about the topic, why it’s so important & how to execute it.
Being able to properly empathize with someone will give you an unfair advantage in the social world.
You will be able to connect on a much deeper level & move with much more grace when dealing with humans.
What is Empathy?
Empathy and sympathy are not the same.
Sympathy is when you try to relate to the person from your lens.
Empathy is when you try to relate to the person from their lens.
Read that again.
Sympathy by no means is easy to do. Especially if you lack compassion in the first place.
But it is much easier than empathy because you are operating from your own ego.
Empathy, on the other hand, requires you to MOMENTARILY kill your ego & see life thru another pair of eyes.
It is very difficult because the ego defines us in many ways.
And momentarily killing it off puts our belief system, opinions & thoughts to the side.
Now you are seeing the situation without your perception filter.
At this point, you can see the situation for what it is & handle the situation much more effectively.
Why is Empathy Important?
Empathy is important because it allows you to be a social chameleon.
A social chameleon is a socially dynamic creature that can keep their authentic message & adjust their delivery.
This is a massive superpower in the social world.
The reason a lot of disagreements occur in the first place is because one or multiple parties refuse to see life from a different lens.
So what does this do?
This causes them to misinterpret, put words in the other person’s mouth & butt heads.
But if you break it down, empathy allows you to build social nuance.
You begin to understand that humans are not black & white creatures.
You begin to see the gray areas of life which allow you to be more fluid with your motions.
The stiffest people in the social world are the ones who are overly logical.
Which is why I say that EQ is more important that IQ.
But when you begin to leverage empathy, you notice it produces a lot of other side effects in your life.
2 things that are holding you back in life are:
- Taking things personally.
- Social anxiety.
You stop taking things as personally when you build your empathy muscle.
Because you take things personally when you only see from your ego.
But when you leverage empathy & gain more context, you see the deeper WHY behind the other person’s message.
Social anxiety also begins to melt with empathy.
Why do you have social anxiety in the first place?
It’s because you paint yourself to be a celebrity in someone else’s eyes.
You magnify your problems & undermine your strengths, which leads to tension within.
But with empathy, you realize that others have their own problems as well.
This added layer of awareness & compassion stops you from just thinking about yourself & helps you begin thinking about others.
The figurative spotlight is off of you.
Nerves will melt.
The 2 Layers of Emotions
There are 2 layers of emotions within humans, level 1 & level 2.
Level 1: The emotional behavior.
Level 2: The reason behind the emotional behavior.
Let’s use an example:
Tim is new to town, so his friend John invites him to a party.
By the time they get to the party, John ditches Tim to hang out with his friends.
Tim is left standing by himself because he doesn’t know anyone and is a tad bit shy.
By the time they leave the party, Tim is pretty irritated with John.
John asks Tim where they should go eat.
‘Just drop me home!’ Tim yells.
John is startled & now angry at Tim for not being appreciative that he invited him to the party.
Results? Both are angry at each other.
So let’s break it down.
Tim was angry. Level 1.
John made himself only aware of Tim’s level 1 emotion which led to poor empathy skills & made the situation worse!
How should have John handled himself?
He should have found the WHY behind the level 1.
He should have dug for level 2.
If he showed compassion, he would have learned that Tim’s level 2 emotion was that he was hurt due to being neglected.
If John addressed the level 2 emotion, then proper empathy would have been shown.
The moral of this little story is:
In order to show proper empathy, you need to find the level 2 behind the level 1.
The level 2 shares the subconscious root of the feeling & tackling that head-on will show emotional intelligence on your end.
Simply tackling level 1 may put a band-aid on the situation, but may not have a long-lasting effect.
How to Show Empathy
You would imagine that the first step to showing empathy is by adjusting how you deal with people, right?
The first step to show empathy for others is by showing empathy for yourself.
Find the least compassionate person that you know.
If you look closer, you will notice that they are very hard on themselves as well.
They undermine the good & amplify the bad in their own lives.
Therefore, I want you to begin tracing back to the level 2’s of your life & make peace with them.
Making yourself aware of the core emotions that dictate your behavior is the first step of self-love.
Understand that it is IMPOSSIBLE to show peak empathy for others when you can’t even empathize with yourself.
Work on getting to know your internal world inside & out.
Make sense of the ambiguity.
You will feel more confident.
And note, you will never fully know your internal world, it’s a life long process.
But getting added clarity makes your life clearer & clearer.
Once you begin this step, empathizing with others becomes almost autopilot!
It’s very fascinating how it works.
You are able to see the good & bad sides of yourself, which allows you to be more AWARE of what others go thru.
You often see these complex guides on how to empathize because they skip the internal world & go straight to the external.
But do the reverse:
1. Empathize with yourself.
2. Empathize with others.
Your journey will be much easier.
Empathy is a Life-Long Act
I want you to begin making yourself more uncomfortable.
Rather than shutting off shows that hold viewpoints that you disagree with, watch it.
See why they are operating the way they are.
It will feel cringe-worthy at first.
But over time, you will keep on building your empathy muscle.
A stronger empathy muscle for yourself & for others will allow you to reach a level of peace.
Your clouded perceptions begin to alter & you start seeing life in a new way.
It is a chain effect in the level up journey, one that you should invest in.
With each added experience in your life, your empathy muscle will get stronger.
You’ll see emotional intelligence is a life long act & you’ll be happy that you committed to building the empathy muscle today.
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