What are they feeling?
The practice: tune in to others.
Imagine a world in which people interacted with each other like ants or fish. Imagine a day in work like this, or in your family, aware of the surface behavior of the people around you but oblivious to their inner lives while they remain unmoved by your own.
That’s a world without empathy. To me, it sounds like a horror film.
Without empathy, there can be no real love, compassion, kindness or friendship. Empathic breakdowns shake the foundation of a relationship. Just recall a time when you felt misunderstood — or even worse, a time when the other person couldn’t care less about understanding you. In particular, anyone who is vulnerable (for example, children or the elderly) has a profound need for empathy, and when it’s a thin soup or missing altogether, that’s very disturbing. In my experience as a therapist, poor empathy is the core problem in most troubled couples or families. Without it, nothing good is likely to happen; with it, even the toughest issues can be resolved.
Empathy gives you a feeling for what it’s like to be another person. When you are empathic, even quietly and tacitly, that tells the other person that he or she exists for you as a being, as a “thou” to your “I.” That’s usually what people most want to know; it’s more fundamental than whatever topic is on the table.
Empathy is soothing, calming and bridge-building. When it’s present, it’s much easier to work through things. Empathy gives you lots of useful information, like what’s most important to others or what’s really bothering them.
This week, repeatedly tune in to the interior of the people around you. “Empathy moments” often take just a few seconds.
To help yourself, remember that empathy is not agreement or approval. You can tune in to someone who hurt you or is irritating; you’re not waiving your rights. Nor do you have to solve the other person’s problem.
Also know that empathy is completely natural.
read full news from www.huffingtonpost.com