Hacking Emotional Intelligence: 3 Tips to Develop Empathy

Every morning when I wake up, the first thing that crosses my mind is a vague feeling that today is going to be a very nice and productive day, although there is a great chance it might not be.

It’s not that I am not an optimist, because I am, but statistically speaking, something unpleasant lurks behind every corner just waiting to jump at me, like a coronavirus or a Miley Cirus new album. That doesn’t mean that I should be worrying every day or have a checklist of bad things that may seal my fate.

Just the opposite, we should all have a bucket list of the great stuff we want to experience or concentrate on something positive or inspiring, which will help us move forward with our lives.

You probably have one of those lists which include meditating, eating a lot of chocolate, or finally visiting Paris in the spring. There is perhaps one more thing everyone should add to this list, and that is helping other people by simply putting yourself in their shoes for a brief moment.

Listen And Observe

Today’s culture teaches us that being self-centered is good for our well-being and the only way for reaching big goals in life, by canceling all distractions that may slow us down on our path to success or glory.

These distractions include other people, mindless chit-chat, or any background noise that doesn’t serve our own agenda. Perhaps having a focus on your goals is a good thing, but according to my experience, excluding yourself from the rest of the world will make your life less fulfilled or meaningful.

Sometimes, we forget how relaxing or hypnotizing it is to just walk around the city, drive the subway, and observe other people interact with each other as they smile, laugh, or seem totally confused with a blank stare on their face.

By just opening your eyes or ears and watching the life around you, a new world will emerge, the one you might didn’t even know was there. As we soak up the energy of people around us, we realize how similar or vulnerable we all are despite our apparent differences in taste, likes, or opinions.

Do Not Be Afraid

Fear can be a real mind-killer plus it can make our lives less rich in experience as we build a wall around us, tucked in our little comfort zone where we feel safe or protected.

Conquering our fears is hard but the way I see it, it’s a challenge that can help you better yourself every day, one step at a time. Just facing your doubts or anxieties will make you more connected with people around you as one realizes that everyone else is going through that same stuff that bothers him every day.

Jumping out of an airplane or swimming with some sharks shouldn’t be your first priority although I highly recommend extreme sports like skydiving for building up your fear resistance.

For a start, just try talking with that girl next door that you have a crush on, but haven’t got any guts to actually start any meaningful conversation. Sometimes, all it takes for us to change our lives is just one small act of courage, a leap of faith into the unknown.

Control Your Ego

If there is one thing that I firmly believe, it is that not taking yourself seriously is crucial for our wellbeing or mental health in general.

Falling into a trap of narcissism is tempting as feelings like pride or vanity can make you power-hungry as you admire your own achievements or grand self-delusions of megalomania. Our pop culture isn’t really helping but actually rewarding this mindset by portraying success, fame, or glory as some of the greatest things one can imagine.

Such a mindset can alienate you from other people, making your life less productive or meaningful, as crafting relationships with other humans becomes less relevant.

It is only when I stopped taking myself too seriously that people started gravitating towards me, as I started projecting a new kind of energy. This new energy said that I am available and open for new experiences, new conversations, or new relationships to happen as I embrace and accept others for who they really are without judging them.

Before understanding others, one must understand himself first.

Every revelation or discovery ultimately leads toward self-discovery as we gradually realize that we are not alone in this world. There are others just like us, with their feelings, hopes, and dreams similar to our own.

Connecting with these people is important because it helps us learn more about ourselves.

It is only through others that we can grow as human beings as we develop empathy that binds us together like the glue of the Universe.

Holds Master's Degree in Psychology, currently academic writer at Eduzaurus