Empathy is the ability to communicate and lead by understanding others’ thoughts, perspectives, and feelings.
Benefits of being of being able to empathize with others include higher self-esteem, more self-confidence, stronger personal relationships, and improved working conditions.
We usually empathize most easily with people we know and care about.
Empathy is built through and understanding of ones self, or self-awareness. The more individuals can understand their own thoughts, feelings, and emotions, the more they can understand someone else’s.
Empathy is a learned behavior. Like all skills, empathy can be taught, practiced and enhanced.
To be human implies the ability to communicate, understand and get along with other human beings. The failure to read another persons’ feelings can be a major problem in the human experience. With empathy, humans can possess a higher degree of sensitivity towards others.
The absence of empathy is directly related to criminal behaviors and problems in managing anger and stress.
The roots of empathy sprout at a very your age (1 to 2 years old). Research has shown that, while infants possess a capacity to learn how to be empathic, they must be shown how to use and develop and already existing abilities. Infants learn empathy from caregivers. In turn, infants learn how to understand other’s feelings. A lack of empathy in the parenting process results in a lack of empathy when children become adults.
Acceptance is the ability to recognize that family, friends, classmates and co-workers have a right to their feelings.
Improve your communication skills. This will lead to better understanding and increased empathy. Some basic tips to improve communication:
Learn to listen with your heart. Pay close attention to nonverbal messages. Nonverbal messages are so powerful because:
1) They tend to be more trusted.
2) They seem more emotionally charged.
3) They express universal feeling.
4) They are a more natural form of communication.
Empathy is one of the four pillars of anger management. The other three topics are stress, anger and communication. All anger management programs must include a Pre and Post Test for each participant.
George Anderson, MSW, BCD, CAMF, CEAP
Diplomate, American Association of Anger Management Providers
Anderson & Anderson®, The Trusted Name in Anger Management