Surely you have already heard or read many things about empathy , but to tell the truth, it is not easy to apply it in our day to day life. Although it is important to know that it is a fundamental aspect for the intelligence of any person, especially from the emotional point of view . To learn more about empathy, its characteristics, benefits or possible disadvantages, do not stop reading until the end and thus discover if you really are a person with empathy.
What is empathy?
More specifically, empathy clearly means what is inside each person, but it is also a reflection of everything they feel . From a clearer point of view, it is associated with the ability to see and experience another person’s point of view.
This means that an empathic person has the ability to connect with the entire emotional environment of the other person, not only superficially, but also completely. Of course, for this it is not necessary to share an equality of criteria and opinions about what happens to the affected person, much less agree with the situation.
So that you have it a little clearer, it is something that strengthens our wisdom. In that sense, the empathic person must also have the power to differentiate between those moods that are affective and those that are not, as well as take an objective perspective of the whole picture.
The belief of various types of intelligence, such as abstract or artistic, has always been supported, but in the case of recognized authors such as Gardner (read about Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences ), understand that when an intelligent person does not have empathy , their behavior becomes completely selfish; under the inability to understand the emotions or problems of the rest . Which also means that it is difficult for the person to follow rules and respect them, leading to significant problems in the workplace, social, interpersonal and family.
What are the components of empathy?
In some situations, you may have been one of those who need a person full of empathy by their side, especially because you need to be listened to but really, trying to receive support and understanding in every way . Or on the contrary, you may believe that you have not acted correctly before a person who has a weakened emotional state.
Given this, you will surely ask yourself: What do I need to be empathetic? What does it take to achieve empathy? Now you will discover it in each of the components that make up the art of empathy . Check them out below:
Know how to listen
This point is essential, since it is more than important and necessary that you pay attention to everything that the affected person explains and argues, as well as understand well the non-verbal expressions, that is , those gestures that could say much more than a thousand words . In addition to all this, avoid interrupting the conversation and emotional expression of that person at all costs, as it is their moment to release all their load through speech.
Also, it is very valuable that while the other person is talking, you can express or make some signals that show that you are connected with their words and there really is a communicative feedback .
Some of these expressions can be: observing the person fixedly at his face, nodding his head in a moderate way, reflecting facial expressions according to his words, having a little contact with his hands or shoulder to emphasize support, among others.
Of course, accentuating the fact of how important it is to know how to listen, you can have the complete freedom to ask some details about what was expressed in the conversation, in a timely manner and without showing other types of inquisitive interests , uniquely and especially so that the person feels that you are honestly interested in him.
Interpret the expressions
Similar to the previous point about the ability to learn to listen, this time observation is decisive to do a good job in relation to understanding the messages that are transmitted non-verbally, that is, they are paralinguistic in nature , such as intonation, response times, voice volume, among other aspects.
To show understanding, it is very successful to use good words that demonstrate such quality, such as: I understand that you act or think like this, I understand how you feel right now , the truth is that you did the right thing after having gone through a bad episode in your life.
Remember that you should not invalidate, judge, criticize or reject any emotion or feeling that the affected person expresses, it really is not a time for that, because sensitivity is essential to demonstrate complete empathy.
Provide emotional support
If necessary, not only because of what you hear but also because of what you see, it is prudent for you to be able to ask the other person if they think it is convenient to receive some kind of emotional or directly professional help. Of course, if after your communication you have already been able to ventilate such a need, it will not be necessary to ask, just get to work to achieve that help.
Another important piece of information is that, if you are the person who is willing to listen and you have already experienced a situation similar to that of your interlocutor, the communication process will be broad and potentially more fluid thanks to the emotional harmony that occurs. In addition, it will be very useful to be able to express what things could help and make possible recommendations.
When a person is empathetic, they show a broad capacity for sensitivity, especially for what other people feel or suffer. Therefore , by being supportive we are also largely very empathetic , since there is a great need to help others, even when we do not know them. It is also related to altruism and compassion.
Why act with empathy?
As you may have already read, empathy is more than essential to promote excellent social and human relationships, regardless of age or the situation that is happening. Understanding that it is a skill of intelligence, its practice is vital to experience benefits , such as:
- Increase the enjoyment of social relationships with friends, family or colleagues.
- You better understand the emotional states of others.
- Greater ability to influence others.
- Enhances the ability to help or collaborate with others.
- It helps to be more respectful.
- Develops negotiation and leadership skills.
- Capacity for altruism.
- Genuine interest in others.
- Facilitates conflict resolution.
How to cultivate empathy?
If you have come this far but you think you need a push to be able to demonstrate true empathy, then we will tell you some key aspects so that you can cultivate it naturally and put it into practice, since this will help you expand your way of communicating with him. world and enrich yourself with new ideas, points of view and opportunities.
Also, do not forget that it is a social skill that perhaps not everyone can develop to its maximum splendor, and that as we have already analyzed, it is a win-win tool that will allow you to listen, understand and even improve the questions you ask , points essential to maintain excellent personal communication. Without a doubt, empathy is a solid foundation for building rich and potential relationships.
To achieve this successfully, we invite you to take into account these 3 simple tips that will allow you to improve empathy, if you already think you have it, or on the contrary, learn to cultivate it little by little .
Question to show interest
When establishing communication, try to ask some personalized and open questions , such as the ones we will tell you below: How are you feeling? How did you feel at work? How do you take on the new work project? Have you been able to enjoy what you do?
Each of the questions should be focused on showing closeness and interest in the other person, don’t forget it. But, always leaving a small space for the interlocutor to express himself widely.
Read theater scripts
A very fun practice but with excellent results, is reading the theater scripts. With them, you will find yourself in the obligation to focus exclusively on one character, and thus you will be able to analyze what is hidden behind each word , what is the personal history, the experiences that the character experiences, what are his fears or abilities, if he has some wishes to fulfill and how you handle your emotions within the novel or drama.
Choose a person
You can do this in any situation and without anyone noticing, since it is a completely organic exercise. Once you choose who can be your target person, try to know what that person wants to express , but only through their emotions and thoughts. That is, through expressive communication.
In this sense, you must be attentive to what he does and how he does it. For this, you can choose individuals who frequent in public transport, walking down the street, in a cafeteria or an open place, since they are platforms where you can find many people with a diversity of situations and experiences hidden in their being.
Are you born with empathy?
Although it is believed that we are really born with the ability to be empathetic, it is really a tool that is formed through a correct social and emotional development since we are babies. Therefore , it is understandable to determine that some people find it much more difficult to arrive or show some level of empathy , since they were not raised in the most favorable conditions for it.
From the point of view of psychology, the foundation of empathy is attributed to mirror neurons , which are located in the brain of human beings and primates, capable of capturing and imitating the emotional and mental states of the people who we surround. Obtaining that first point, then such ability must be combined with socialization, because in this way the desired empathy is achieved.
In this sense, the emotional education of the representatives and parents is essential for a baby to develop empathy, and also to maintain it over the years. For example, when a child has feelings ignored, he will honestly only learn to ignore his own feelings and those of others .
On the contrary, when a child is given due emotional attention, that is to say, he is listened to, he is given love through caresses and kisses, he will undoubtedly learn to better capture his internal emotions , but also those of another person; taking steps to a future with a full development of empathy.
To understand it better, it is a really important social skill, not only for those who possess and practice it, but also for all the people who interact with each other , whether in a personal, professional and even family sphere.
How do you know if a person has empathy?
To know if a person is empathetic, it is necessary that they show these types of essential characteristics:
Empaths are extremely generous, open, and great listeners. If you want a sentimental love of those real, an empathic person will be key. Also, much is made about that, empaths are very sensitive and sometimes require time to heal emotionally if they are made to feel bad.
A truly empathic person achieves complete harmony with the moods of other people , whether negative or positive, because they can perceive everything.
They are usually introverts and prefer direct contact or also associate with small groups. And in case you are not so outgoing, you may decide to distance yourself from the crowds .
They perceive people’s feelings more easily. In addition, this also allows the empathic person to discover the quality of the relationships he maintains, thus distancing himself from the bad energies that surround him. They avoid at all costs people who can take advantage in this regard.
The most empathetic people think that being around certain people can turn out to be exhausting, so they usually have that need to spend more time alone, with the intention of increasing their energy . This is something that can even lead to loneliness or seem lonely, but it is a need for them to isolate themselves a bit.
Few intimate relationships
Believing that they will be trampled on or fear of losing their intimacy, they often reject or avoid extended relationships . Generally they feel more comfortable in the relationships they already know, later it is when they consider the possibility of forming a relationship.
Connection with nature
The environment is of great help to enjoy nature, seeing landscapes, the ocean and other pleasant spaces, where it is possible to perceive the sounds, smells and textures of nature with a very good attitude.
They have a big heart
This is clearly reflected when they seek to satisfy that need to calm the pain of others, especially those who are most distressed. But not just superficially, they actually experience the feelings and emotions of that other individual who is having a hard time. However, they tend to be more tactful in helping people they already know before. although there is always a point of altruism, trying to help anyone who needs it, since they really care about the pain and suffering of other people.
Although it is a quality that seems to belong only to children, really people full of empathy are also usually extremely curious, especially when asking questions, without affecting the personal space of the other individual , since it is not advisable to confront to a stranger where there is no bond of trust. These types of people, the empaths, are carried away by the curiosity they usually feel about the habits, practices and knowledge that the other person possesses.
This means that they do not remain anchored in one aspect of their life or that of the other person, people who have empathy under their belt try to listen and ask questions to change their way of thinking . They turn the page, which does not mean that it does not affect them, simply that they are preparing to continue moving forward with their lives.
Are there downsides to having too much empathy?
All excesses end up being bad, and in the case of empathy there are no exceptions. Therefore , when it comes to a person who has excessive empathy, this can trigger their own and personal abandonment , or worse, use such feelings to manipulate.
It should be noted that the limits between who I am and who others are in a person full of excessive empathy are widely close, that is, they are difficult to perceive just as well . This undoubtedly generates a series of difficulties and disadvantages that can harm the individual over the years; such as:
- Inability to set limits.
- Difficulty distinguishing between own and other people’s feelings.
- Tendency to put aside critical and reflective judgment.
- Mental and emotional exhaustion.
- Excessive involvement in the affairs of others.
Hello Readers, I am Nikki Bella a Psychology student. I have always been concerned about human behavior and the mental processes that lead us to act and think the way we do. My collaboration as an editor in the psychology area of Well Being Pole has allowed me to investigate further and expand my knowledge in the field of mental health; I have also acquired great knowledge about physical health and well-being, two fundamental bases that are directly related and are part of all mental health.