Your Guide to Being a Decent, Compassionate, and Empathetic Human

By: Marie

Empathy. Empathy is the ability to understand others emotions and feelings. In other words, empathy is when you’re able to put yourself in someone’s position, physically and emotionally. To be honest, a lot of people lack empathy. Which I guess is one of the reasons why we live in such a “bad” society. People don’t really care about others’ emotions and don’t even try to understand them. 

There are many reasons why some people lack empathy. People who lack empathy are probably scared to get in touch with their feelings. These people have learned to shut their feelings down and even condemn others for feeling their emotions. They close off their hearts and certainly can’t relate or feel others feelings. I know it’s hard to deal with people who lack empathy, especially if you are a caring and loving person. When you try to express your feelings, all you get in return is judgements and anger.Talking with these people will lead you nowhere.

I decided to gather up 5 lessons on empathy I wish everyone would’ve been taught.

ONE: Listen

When someone is talking, we think that we hear everything they say but in reality, we are only paying attention to what we are going to say in response. When you listen to understand, you start paying attention to the thoughts and feelings of the person you are talking to. That’s when you’ll be able to help and show love. 

Empathetic listening encourages us to tune in, and by doing that we start to connect more deeply to those around us and ourselves.

TWO: Be Caring and Supportive

Being caring and supportive of each other is more important than anything else, it goes beyond words. To be empathetic, you don’t have to be skilled in the art of speech, you just have to be appreciative, showing that you care and that that person matters to you – usually by doing simplest things; like listening and hugging and buying flowers or brownies and sending little supportive messages out of the blue, etc. These are all acts of empathy and will help the other person feel important and loved.

THREE: Quit Assuming Things

Assumptions are the real enemy of empathy. Assuming is supposing that something is the case without real evidence. An empathetic person sees things from others’ eyes and situations. However when assuming, you start seeing things from your own point of view. Instead of assuming, ask questions. For example, you assume a person is not religious because they enjoy philosophical debates or that a fat person wants to lose weight or a depressed person just doesn’t want to be happy, or assuming a feminist is a manhater or a woman easy prey or a smiling person happy even, etc. So, please stop assuming things you don’t know shit about. If you’re curious about someone or something, ask.

FOUR: Don’t Judge

Despite our efforts, we all judge others. We judge from what we see, hear, or assume. We judge without knowing anything about one’s life. In order to be empathetic, you have to temporarily stop judging and start putting ourselves in other people’s shoes. See the world from their perspective. This way, you’ll understand why that person is doing what he’s doing. Mind you, you don’t have to agree with what the other person is saying, you just have to accept it. We can’t not judge, what we can do is withhold that judgement to ourselves and put effort into seeing things from other peoples’ perspectives.

That’s the thing about empathy, there is no room for judgement, only acceptance, and if you can’t find it in you to be accepting, then the least you could be is tolerant.

FIVE: Vulnerability

Some people are scared of being vulnerable. It’s something many of us avoid due to fear of being hurt, judged or seen as failures. Vulnerability often leads to a greater sense of connection and relation though, sharing your insecurities and expressing your feelings make up the foundation of any relationship, ever.

Dealing with people who lack empathy is not easy and will leave you frustrated and disappointed. Even though I wish more people had more empathy, I know I can’t change anyone. You can’t change someone, but you can love yourself enough to not let people who lack empathy have a control over your life. 

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