What is the greatest gift aka superpower any human can have? Well, if you ask Meryl Streep, she would tell you this.
The great gift of human beings is that we have the power of empathy.”
Do you want to be more empathetic with the humans in your life? If you answered yes to that question you're in the right spot. In this article, we’re going to talk about empathy and how to unlock the superpower of being a more empathetic human in this video right here, right now.
Oh, and by the way, if you said no.
Well … What’s the matter with you!
Anyway, let’s get back to why you're here.
You saw the title or the thumbnail and thought to yourself … Empathy oh yeah, I need that!
Or, maybe you even thought to yourself what the heck is empathy or why is empathy a superpower.
Let’s start with the why question first!
“Empathy is simply listening, holding space, withholding judgment, emotionally connecting, and communicating that incredibly healing message of you’re not alone.”
Oh, and those smart words, they're not mine, they are from Brene Brown. If you haven’t checked out some of Brene Brown's books or videos, then links are in the description below.
Do you have a hard time putting yourself in someone else's shoes?
Empathy or taking on someone else's perspective doesn't always come naturally to all of us. I know for a lot of years, I struggled with being empathetic. You see, it’s hard to be empathetic when you are rooted in a world of self.
In my opinion, to truly be empathetic one first needs to over-index on being selfless. You can’t be all about "self" or be a narcissist and be empathetic. Again, my opinion, or is it?
You see Dr. Jean Twenge analyzed data from 15,000 college students and found that there's a relationship between the year someone was born and their narcissism score meaning that people born in later years expressed more narcissism than their elders.
Wait, there's a narcissism score. Well you know we're going to have to talk more about that in a future video!
Back to the data.
People born in later years expressed more narcissism than their elders.
One possible conclusion is that since we're relying so much on technology to communicate, it (technology) has limited our ability to understand others, express ourselves and communicate emotionally.
We're so used to sending and receiving texts, tweets, and instant messages that we fail to empathize with others. This breaks the connection we have with the humans around us and, since we are built to be connected, this can end up putting us in a really bad spot.
Yep, I’m saying, being empathic to others is also good for ourselves!
So, why is empathy important?
When tragedy strikes in life, your ability to put yourself in someone else's shoes and be compassionate may not immediately resolve things but it will bring you closer together.
Even though empathy may be viewed as a weakness by many, it's actually the most important ingredient for long-term relationships with your family, friends, and even coworkers/teammates.
You see (Empathy) enables you to have deeper, stronger relationships with those you live and work with on a daily basis which makes everyone more successful together.
When you're empathetic you're aware of the feelings and emotions of others.
When you're aware, you can relate and really understand their situation, whether an employee is struggling to complete a project or they're sick and need to stay home instead of going to the office.
Or, maybe it has to do with your kids being in between jobs and needing you to be there to support them. To understand that they are just like you were when you were younger.
Struggling to figure out this thing called life!
There are hundreds of scenarios I could run through.
However, on the other side of the coin, your inability to display your empathy or to be empathetic can really turn your wife, husband, kids, family, friends, and coworkers off. I’m pretty sure that the list I just listed equals about every possible human you could have in your life.
Making them (the people around you) the people in your life, feel unsupported, detached, and isolated is not a good look on anyone.
So, how can you be more empathetic in life?
Well, great question and, let's talk about a few steps you can take to have more empathy.
Number one, set some time aside to speak with your family, friends, or coworkers when you suspect there might be an issue.
When you speak to them, ask them how they're feeling.
While that might seem like a small gesture, it can really help you become more empathetic.
Many humans will immediately try to move on or work on something when they should be taking a moment to really understand the person, and how they are doing emotionally with the problem they are facing.
At work, this might be leaders immediately assigning work vs. taking time to listen and navigate what might feel like unneeded emotions. At home, this might look like a frenzied cleaning spell vs. sitting down with a loved one.
Watch for this empathy trap moving forward in life.
Number two, listen to your family, friends, or teammate without interruption.
Man is this one hard!
No really, it’s hard for most of us to really listen vs. listening for when to talk next.
Listening shows that you care about them and their situation. Take some time to really think about what they're saying before you actually respond. Focus on living a life that leverages active listening!
Number three, show your own vulnerability.
If they're feeling depressed, you can open up about a time when you felt that way and how you handled it. You could also try to remove them from the space they are currently in. Many times the emotions we feel are tied to the place we are.
If this is at work, you could even give the person a mental health day off so they can have some time to themselves.
At home, it might be a spa day for your wife or an afternoon on the golf course for your husband.
But, the bottom line here, be compassionate with how they may feel when they share issues with you and consider how the things you say and do can affect their lives.
Remember, you and your words have power!
Number four, offer them help and guidance to solve their problem if possible.
For instance, if they're burned out from work, then maybe give them a day off or let them work from home when possible.
If at home, maybe it’s a couple of days without chores. Maybe it’s helping with the chores.
Vacuum the floor, fold the laundry, do things you might not normally do. Think servant mentality and compassion to unlock your empathetic superpower.
These actions show that you can and are empathizing with their situation with an act of kindness they probably didn't even expect.
Leading with empathy will help you get closer to the humans around you and make them feel comfortable coming to you with problems that may occur in the future.
This will make you a better leader, wife, husband, grandparent, in other words, human because you'll be able to solve problems faster while also validating emotions.
Listen, in life, you'll encounter tough situations and when you do, unlock your hidden superpower, be empathetic and earn the trust and respect of those around you.
While you are working on and remembering to be more empathetic, also remember to be a happy, helpful humble human along the way.
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