Empathy creates mutual understanding and perspective.
The next time you’re stuck in a disagreeable conversation, consider changing your strategy. Instead of waiting to respond, disagree, or move on, try seeing things from the other person’s point of view. Really imagine you’re them, and pretend you see things exactly the way they do.
With each word that comes out, you’ll feel more and more entitled in your stance. You feel right, and you find it hard to see things any other way.
Then, respond with compassion, and let them know you get it. When they’re done expressing themselves completely and feel understood, go back to your own role and personality, and re-evalute the situation. If you still have something to say, go for it; this time, they’ll be listening.
You see, this is one easy example to understand compassion. Real compassion means you’re able to see things from another person’s point of view. You’re able to feel for the other person, because you understand what they are going through.
If you’ve noticed you’re a bit hardened around your outer shell lately, consider practicing compassion. Often times, we harden into our habits and beliefs as we get older, based upon our life experiences to date. Yet, we simultaneously crave more intimate relationships, freedom of thought, and fun.
If you don’t want life to get boring, lonely, and routine, it’s important you practice compassion. You see, empathy is what forms friendships, tightens existing bonds, and lets someone else know you’ll be there for them. In turn, he or she will be there for you, also.
The good news:
much like love, empathy is abundant. You’ll never run out, and you’ll never get hurt being compassionate.
One word of caution, however: being empathetic — or compassionate — does not mean lowering yourself and your energetic state to someone else’s. It simply means understanding their viewpoint or perspective from their side, rather than our own. For a moment’s time, you will imagine yourself as this person, but there’s no point in actually taking on their pain, albeit emotional, physical, spiritual, or psychological. You can feel it for a moment, but make sure not to hold onto any pain or discomfort, as you won’t be much help if you double the trouble.
Think of empathy as your ability to peek into someone else’s reality — see everything that’s going on — and then respond with greater perspective, and without losing your own strength.
I’m so grateful for you,
Originally published at drkareem.com on March 31, 2017.