Todays topic is “why is empathy important” and there is a major difference between having sympathy for someone and being an empath. Most of this comes down to becoming a better person in life and being able to support and understand other people’s emotional issues and problems.
Parts of being empathic and understanding why empathy is important is also learning to think before you speak to others. A lot of the time we listen to others, but it is very hard to understand the true nature of their problem because we are not them. What might seem sensible, common sense or normal to you might mean something completely different to someone else in that situation.
People also do not like to be compared to others in similar situations either as they will see their situation as being completely different which is why we have to stay consistent in our approach to being empathic to others and really digging deep to understand the underlying issues they have.
Below I am going to give you some of my top tips on how to adopt an empathic listening approach to dealing with people by getting them to let go of the past and keeping calm about their thoughts and feelings and process them in a more positive manner. I will also describe where taking an empathic approach will help in given daily scenario’s.
Why is empathy important top tips and tricks
- Everyone thinks differently – In every situation that we come across in life, everyone interprets those thoughts differently. As an empathy example – 7 people are walking down the street and see someone in trouble – The 1st person sees the whole event – The 2nd arrives a minute later and the rest 1 minute later after that. How everyone see’s the situation is then clearly different and will have their own viewpoint on the situation too. Therefore some people will be impacted by the even and others won’t be. So you cannot judge the situation purely based on the event. You have to take an empathic approach and listen to everyone’s feedback on the event and how that has effected them personally.
- Everyone acts differently – As an empathy example again, take divorce as a topic. A lot of parents get divorced now and it impacts the children in different ways. 2 children in the family could go through exactly the same process but come out of it impacted in completely different ways. Therefore it is really important to understand how they have been impacted by this and what can be changed in order to make things better for them. As a result child 1 might hate their life and child 2 could be happy again as a result of the divorce happening.
- Not judging people – It is hard not to judge people in given circumstances and empathise with them if they have done something wrong. Often or not most of us know when you are doing something wrong but sometimes do not think properly about the consequences of our actions. Once they are caught doing this however, they can kick back and blame everyone else for their behavior instead. This is why it is important to empathise with them about the situation. Ask them questions like, what motivated you to do that, what was running through your mind when you are doing this. Avoid making them feel like they have done something wrong however as this will not help, but try and draw them out of their shell and explain how they felt. We all make mistakes in life and being nice to people even though they have done wrong things is still an important attribute to have.
- Not taking things personally – We all have our own values and own thoughts in life, we are all educated in similar ways and have guidelines and rules to live by, even when living for yourself in life it still hard to empahise with others when they are being personal towards you. This is particularly hard in relationships and with kids, because people look to blame you or someone else for everything they have done wrong. It is because of this, well if you hadn’t done that, or someone didn’t say this. It is a hard attribute to learn how to control your thoughts, but one of the major lessons learnt in my life is that it is much easier to control your own thoughts and feelings than it is to change someone else’s. So you need to learn to remove the personal attacks from the conversations and just understand and empaphise with that person about why they are feeling the way they do.
- Timing is everything – Sometimes people may not want to talk to you about things. It might just not be the right time. It can be frustrating but most people will not tell you the real issue until they are backed into a corner. They might also bring up lots of things but not he problem itself so you need to stay consistent and patient in your approach and keep listening to them.
- Patience is key – Being a great empath also means being patient. As above with timing if someone does not want to talk, then you have to remain patient with them. This is especially important in relationships with partners and children. As they might not feel like they can tell what the actual issue is, so nurturing them with questions as if you care about them, want to help and want to support them will eventually bring them out of their shell.
Why Empathy Is Important In Everyday Life
- As a business skill – In business a lot of people nowadays are suffering from mental health issues. We live in an on demand world and people feel like they never get away from work and in most cases that is true. Answering emails or whatsapps out of hours and letting this upset home life can be a nightmare. So listening to your staff, understanding their struggles, supporting them, offering help and assistance is paramount to helping them succeed. Being empathic means not judging them if they are not doing a good job but helping them do a better one. Listening to your customers, suppliers, partners is paramount in making sure you can all work together in a successful manner. It is not about kicking ass when things go wrong as things generally do, it is how quickly you can pull a team together to fix the problem that counts. You can only achieve this by looking at the situation and empaphising with it and then putting corrective actions in place to fix them. After all taking the approach of everything happens for a reason will allow you to understand that there is an underlying issue that needs to be unearthed in order to move forward.
- Close relationships – If you want to have a successful relationship, then you have to listen to the other persons point of view. There is always a middle ground and having a tit for tat conversation will only lead to unhappiness on both sides. You don’t have to agree but if you have no empathy for how they are feeling, they will just stop talking to you about those problems. When people stop talking about their problems to you, they will also stop trusting you. So agree to disagree if you have to but also acknowledge that you can see their point of view and agree that is correct from their stand point. It is just that you have a slightly different view of things and you both need to agree on the best way forward for all parties.
- As a Doctor or Social Worker – This is a hard one as you see people from all different backgrounds, some with major issues and some who just complain. Again you need to believe in yourself and your job. You did this job to help others so you will need to be patient with those patients who take the micky and seek reward by treating the patients who make you happy. The one’s that make you feel like the job is rewarding and gives you the recognition you need to stay positive. Just have patience, listen and hopefully solve the problem and stay consistent in your approach. To that person they could have a major issue or problem that needs addressing and every problem has a different impact to each individual person. All you can really do is just be kind in these circumstances.
- As a Teacher – Different children are brought up so differently at home nowadays. Some have great manners and others don’t have any. So it is hard to have empathy when kids are messing around, being bullied, not working hard and it can be frustrating. All you can do is the best job you possibly can by again listening and asking questions from the kids. All kids want is to be appreciated for what they do, they are very much impacted by what everyone else says about them as they take things very personally. It is our jobs to bring them out of their shell and empahise with them in order to help grow, overcome any obstacles and put them on the right road to success. After all they are still developing and learning, they just need your expert guidance and empathy to get them to the correct place.
- As a Leader – Leaders stand out from the crowd because they can empaphise with situations and bring the absolute best out of people. One of the ways I do this is by fully understanding what drives people to work hard and get the best out of their jobs. Quite often some leaders will get staff to do jobs they are no good at or hate, the employee then becomes disgruntled and gets blamed for being no good for the team. On the other hand when you have a team and you understand their skills you can put them together in a complimentary fashion and get the best out of them. So if someone is struggling in your organization learn how to be more empathic with them and understand what needs to be done to get them back into delivering an excellent job.
- In Customer Service – We have all been there right. Listening to customers who are shouting at us down the phone and are very upset. Like above, everyone deals with situations differently and a great customer service rep will not take things personally. Take the phone slightly away from your ear and listen to what the customer is saying. Empaphise with their situation by saying that you completely understand the problem and have empathy for the way they are feeling. Then provide them with the confidence that you will fix this for them. Obviously get back to them after fixing the problem and you will find you probably get a positive response from them. If you don’t then there is nothing you can do and that person is probably just being a dick. Just laugh to yourself and say you can’t please some people and move on. As above it is about not taking things personally in this role and just doing everything you can to help improve the situation.
Commonly asked questions on why empathy is important
- What are the benefits of empathy? Empathy allows us to build trust with others, for them to open up and tell you about their situation. It also gives you a Worldly experience of how others view given situations and will educate you on the importance of having individualism in society. We do all think differently and being empathic makes you powerful in the sense that when you empaphise you will find that others will recognize this and the trust will make them always come to you in the future. The law of reciprocity means that if you find yourself in the same situation too then it will come back when you need it also. Plus being kind is a gift we should bestow on everyone, understanding what drives people, upsets people is an important part of having emotional intelligence and driving people to be successful in life.
- Why is empathy important at work? You will get a lot more out of your job, colleagues, managers if you understand the Why of how things are working. Like I said just because someone isn’t performing at work, doesn’t make them a bad person or a bad worker. There are just underlying issues that make them that way. Learning to use them to the best of your ability is the best way to get the most out of the relationship. Yes some people want something for nothings and will never put in the work and that is why interview techniques are really important. A lot of people also get sour at work and unmotivated when they have been there a long time and doing the same job. They lack motivation and it is everyone’s responsibility to reignite the fire and introduce new ways of working that both excites people and also allows them to see change in a positive light.
- Why do we need more empathy? Because it is a very powerful attribute to have in life. If you piss someone off, they will likely always hold that against you. If you however understand someone’s position, reasoning and support them, they will remember that. Delivering empathy is not sympathy and the difference is someone could have a lull at work because their pet died for instance and they are feeling sad. So you feel sympathy on the one hand for the pet but empathy on how they are feeling. Some people will just say what you bothered about it’s just a cat – Whereas someone else could say, I know how you feel I lost my cat too and was devastated, if there is anything you need please let me know. Now being rude and unempathic with people will just make them hate you unfortunately and when you need it because you have lost something important in your life, then no one will be around to support you.
Life is a funny thing and to be honest being a good all round person and listening to others and being empathic is a hard attribute to have. But if you really want to understand why empathy is important, just try it and see if you can unearth someone’s deep feelings about an issue and then see what you can do to help.
It really is a powerful emotion to have and I also put together a transformation program that helps you to be more empathic, to take control of your life, to stop overthinking things, to be grateful and thankful for what you have, how to cheer yourself up and lots more on living a happier lifestyle starting today.
You can find it at https://changeyourlifeforever.co.uk I really do hope you join me but I also wish you the very best of luck in your journey throughout life too. Life generally is what you make of it, so make sure you enjoy yours. Best wishes Scott