3 min read
The Advantages of Empathy
By: OHI on Oct 19, 2023 5:00:00 AM
Empathy is the ability to identify, understand, and share the thoughts and feelings of another person. It’s basically the ability to put yourself in someone else’s shoes. Empathy is a strength and an essential skill to nourishing connection with other people.
Five advantages of empathy:
- Builds strong social connections: Empathy enables us to build social connections, and forge friendships, relationships, and partnerships. Those relationships are key to our optimal wellbeing, and increases feelings of happiness and self-worth.
- Improves leadership skills: Empathy improves our capacity to communicate well with individuals and a team. It helps you effectively lead and inspire others.
- Successful marriage/partnership: Empathy with our partner allows us to feel valued, loved, and cared for, and to mirror those feelings in return. Partner empathy is a strong predictor of a successful relationship.
- Better parenting: Empathy makes parents more resilient and better able to face the challenges associated with raising children. Empathetic parents also model empathetic behavior for their children, thereby teaching them empathy at an early age.
- Averting global disaster: Empathetic people are more likely to come together to tackle challenges on behalf of humanity, like global warming, a pandemic, or war.
Empathy is both innate skill and a learned skill. Which means empathy can be developed, so let’s learn how…
Six Ways to Cultivate Empathy
- Cultivate a sense of curiosity. Curious people ask questions. Follow people on social media from different backgrounds — religious, ethnic, political — and listen to what they have to say. Visit new places, and immerse yourself in their life. Expand your horizons for a new perspective on the world.
- Step out of your comfort zone. Travel. Learn something new, and experience what it’s like to be unable to do something well. Let it humble you. Humility is a path to empathy.
- Be open to receiving feedback. Ask for feedback from family, friends, and colleagues regarding your active listening and relationship skills. How could you improve? What opportunities did you miss?
- Put yourself in someone else’s shoes. Find opportunities to mix with people from other backgrounds. How do they live and work? Compassion and understanding are the first steps toward empathy.
- Examine your biases. Often without realizing it, we judge others. Again, mix with people from other backgrounds, and examine the preconceived notions you brought to the interaction about their intellect, their work ethic, and their generosity.
- Get comfortable with difficult conversations. While it can feel uncomfortable to challenge or be challenged by alternative points of view, open your mind to new and different ideas. Start by researching an issue, and understand where a point of view has come from and how it affects the people involved. Then talk to people with those points of view. Listen and don’t interrupt. Active listening is at the heart of empathy.
Empathy is at the heart of what it means to be human. It’s a foundation for acting ethically, and for cooperative professional success. It’s at the core of healthy and supportive friendships, relationships, and partnerships. And it’s key to preventing bullying and other cruelty. Learning empathy is like learning a new language. It requires practice and guidance, but with a little effort empathy becomes a natural reflex. Just a little extra empathy from everyone will contribute to a much kinder world.
Learn more about the benefits of empathy in our Communication class. Our caring staff members are eager to give you all the unconditional support, inspiration, and transformational tools you need to bring your body, mind, and spirit into healthy balance in a serene, peaceful setting.