Empathy is being able to understand how other people see themselves and their world from their point of view. An empathetic approach will help create a safe accepting environment to try to understand another person's perspective another person's point of view as well as to understand what they might be feeling. Respecting the person on who they are at that given time.
If you wish to be genuinely empathetic you must practice the skills in everyday communication. Gradually incorporate them into your lifestyle, using caution not to overwhelm others by being overzealous. As empathy becomes more natural to you, you will begin to notice the influence it has on your conversational style and the impact it has on others.
One of the main skills required for empathy is Listening, the ability to listen properly is a rare quality there is a vast gulf between" I am listening to you" and " I am hearing you". Listening requires time and patience and caring, and love, and sympathy, and compassion and selflessness. It is more than just hearing words- it is in silences, unspoken words, tears, laughter, frustrations, confusion and being where the person wants to be.
Here are some examples off not listening
- If you say you understand before I've told you enough to enable you to understand.
- If you interrupt me.
- If you tell me about your worries or experiences, thus making mine seem trivial.
- If I say to you "please listen to me" then you are not listening to me.
- If you talk about you.
Here are some examples of Listening
- If you give me enough space to discover for myself what is happening around and within me.
- If you do not take my worries from me but allow me to deal with them in my own way.
- If you curb your inclination to give me sound advice.
- If you allow me the dignity of making my own decisions no matter how wrong you think they may be.
- If you can sympathise with my point of view even when it is contrary to your own sincere convictions and beliefs.
One of my father's sayings were are you listening and I also thought to myself, if you're asking that question, you know the answer, now as a grandfather, I watch my own children asking their children the same question are you listening, and in observing the children there value and contribution comes from living in the moment. That moment is the only thing that is important to them, so as parents how do we empathise with our children as empathy is being able to understand how other people see themselves from their point of view including children.
On listening to Roots of Empathy's Impact by Mary Gord She states What we hope for, and what we expect, and what we invest in, is everything to do with what we get. The best investment we make in our children is how we treat them in a moment to moment basis because we can live in the future but for the child, they can't wait, today is the moment, It's up to the adults to find ways to meet that moment not to put them off indefinitely.
" True empathy requires that you step outside your own emotion to view things entirely from the perspective of the other person" Anonymous