Human beings are naturally wired to embrace this message and have the ability to empathize in them from birth – an in-built capacity for stepping into the shoes of others and understanding their feelings,actions and perspectives.
It takes more than just good intentions to really empathize with others.Good intentions can backfire if we’re overwhelmed ourselves, especially in difficult times such as in these times of physical distancing requirements. Another natural tendency is to pretend to listen or minimize our own or another person’s experience instead of displaying genuine empathy. Learning the pitfalls—and what to do differently—will help you become better prepared to respond compassionately and avoid showing a lack of empathy.
Researchers have discovered that far from being an immutable trait, empathy can be developed. There are steps people can take to acknowledge their biases and to move beyond their own worldviews to try to understand those held by other people.Here are 5 ways as provided by www.nytimes.com .Read on and I hope you learn something, here goes
1. Practice Empathy
So what is empathy? It’s understanding how others feel and being compassionate toward them empathy makes people better managers and Workers and better family members and friends. Some people are more naturally empathetic than others, but there are easy, tried and tested exercises that anyone can do to increase their empathy.
Try Out Someone Else’s Life
Don’t just stand in someone else’s shoes, as the saying goes, but take a walk in them, it will be so much easier to restrain yourself from being anything less than empathetic
Join Forces for a Shared Cause
Working on a project with other people reinforces everyone’s individual expertise and humanity, and minimizes the differences that can divide people
2.Admit You’re Biased
We’re all biased. Acknowledging that is the first step. The second step is taking action to overcome it.
Be Honest With Yourself
“Bias is a natural part of the human condition,” ( Erin L. Thomas)
It is adaptive for us to take mental shortcuts and make conclusions about the people around us. Actively working to combat that is what matters.”
Biases are often unconscious – we might not realize we have them – so one way to learn more about your biases is to make a conscious effort to check your bias . find and take a quiz online
Check Your Privilege
Your privileges are things that give you special status and that you didn’t earn and don’t necessarily realize you benefit from. One example is when white people, unlike African-Americans, don’t worry about police violence during a routine traffic stop. Another is when someone raised with enough money has never thought about whether they can afford to eat.
- When was the last time you had to think about your race, ethnicity, gender, religion, ability level or sexual orientation?
- When watching movies or TV, how often do you see characters who reflect who you are?
- How often are you in social settings where most people are of a different identity than you are?
3.Stand Up For Others ,Amplify Other Voices
Sometimes the most powerful thing you can do is step aside and create a space to feel the things others feel.allow them to speak and be heard
It’s Not About You
- Remember that you don’t need to understand everything about someone to show emphaty
- Advocate for things that will help others, especially when they do not directly affect you. like pushing for paid parental leave when you are not yet a parent or helping to organize an event for colleagues even if you’re not part of that unit
- Don’t make assumptions about people based on what your life is like. When you’re asking someone about their lives, don’t assume, for instance, that they have a partner, healthy children, or a beautiful, home your reality is not theirs and vice versa
4.Engage In Hard Conversations Often
Frank, respectful conversations can go a long way toward opening people’s minds. If someone has told you that you said something that was offensive, the first step is to listen. According to experts,here are some common conversation errors
- keeping your own feelings rather than the other persons in focus
- making the conversation about you
- blaming the victim or denying that their experiences happened.
Here are some things to do instead:
- Step One: Don’t say anything. Just listen.
- Step Two: If you offended someone, apologize (and apologize earnestly).
- Step Three: Do your research. Read articles written by people who have had firsthand experiences with what you’re discussing.
Learn to Listen
Truly listening to someone requires active engagement. Here are some tips from Dr. Riess, the Harvard psychiatrist:
- Use your body language to show that you’re open to listening: uncross your arms, lean slightly forward, make eye contact.
- Pay close attention to the speaker’s facial expressions and body language, which can convey more emotions than their words.
- Don’t interrupt.
- Ask open-ended questions.
- Put away your phone.
Reading is one of the best ways to open your mind to the experiences of others.
People who read literary fiction performed better on tests of empathy and emotional intelligence afterward.
You enter the thoughts, heart and mind of another person who’s not like you, and it really does break down barriers Choose novels with narrators who have lives and backgrounds unlike yours, or who live in a different place or time. Choose diverse authors, too.
Learn From Nonfiction
Read about the lives, struggles and fights against oppression of different groups of people — in history books and essay collections and newspapers.
Expand Your Research
Read and watch first-person accounts of the experiences of others in magazines and newspapers, on social media and in podcasts and documentaries.
We’re all humans, and we all have the natural desire to connect with one another irrespective of age, race, nationality or color.Building our empathy, considering the perspectives of others and opening ourselves to uncomfortable conversations can make that happen.