It’s hard to watch someone suffers. We feel their pain or absorb their sorrow; we don’t know what to do or say. Those uncomfortable feelings make us turn away from their distress to preserve our own well-being.
The ability to connect empathically with others to feel with them, to care about their well-being, and to act with compassion is critical to our lives, helps us to get along, work more effectively, and thrive as a society.
Doctors turn off their feelings and create emotional distance helps them to provide better care, but it also makes patients distrustful, disgruntled, and less cooperative. The ability to connect with others is critical.
Being empathic improve health care, it also improves human interactions.
What is empathy?
Many confuse empathy (feeling with someone) with sympathy (feeling sorry for someone).
Empathy is an ability to perceive others’ feelings.
The ability to connect empathically with others to feel with them, to care about their well-being, and to act with compassion is critical to our lives.
We must understand the situation from the other person’s physical, psychological, social, and spiritual perspectives, the inner motivation that moves people to respond and express the urge to care about another person’s welfare.
While empathy is a built-in biological response to suffering, we still need to work at it, if we want to use it in more trying situations.
Empathy can be taught
We may find it hard to empathize with some people but that doesn’t mean we can not strengthen our empathy muscles.
Empathy is a built-in biological response to suffering
E: Eye contact. An appropriate level of eye contact improves effective communication.
M: Muscles in facial expressions. As humans, we often automatically mimic other people’s expressions without even realizing it. By being able to identify another’s feelings often by distinctive facial muscle patterns and mirroring them, we can help communicate empathy.
P: Posture. Sitting in a slumped position can show a lack of interest, dejection, or sadness; sitting upright signals respect and confidence.
A: Affect (or emotions). Learning to identify what another is feeling can help us understand their behaviour.
T: Tone of voice conveys over 38 percent of the nonverbal emotional content of what a person communicates, it is a vital key to empathy. Soothing tone can make someone feels and heard.
H: Hearing. Too often, we don’t truly listen to another person. Empathic listening means asking questions that help people express what’s really going on and listening without judgement.
Y: Your response with the person you are talking to synch up emotionally with that person to understand and like them.
Eye contact improves effective, empathetic communication
When a child becomes a high achiever, his accomplishments may give him little pleasure.
When children grow, other relationships become important. School teachers can increase children’s sense of self-worth by treating them with respect and warmth, avoiding harsh disciplinary tactics, and engaging them in learning. They can also directly teach empathy through literature, simulations, and other techniques.
From my book- Trick your brain for Happiness
Available on Amazon worldwide and Paperback in India on pothi.com