Incorporating the following empathy tips into your daily life will provide a solid foundation for becoming more empathetic. Need a physical reminder? Download a PDF by clicking the image of all five cards below, and print them out to take with you.
1. Listen with curiosity
Has a friend gone through a rough time lately? You can show empathy in small ways, like truly listening to their stories. Try asking questions without projecting your own thoughts or experiences. Seek to understand rather than be understood.
2. Be self-empathetic
Be as present as possible in the everyday. This is easier said than done, but self-empathy thrives when we recognize what is happening in us (such as our thoughts and emotions) on a regular basis. Notice what is happening to you without any judgement. Self-empathy means understanding yourself, which is a crucial step in being able to act empathetically toward others.
3. Observe without judgement
Did that person cut you off on the highway out of spite, or because they were rushing to an important appointment? Can you remember a time that you were so caught up in a task that you forgot about everyone around you? See others’ actions as simply that—actions—before jumping to conclusions about their intentions or character.
4. Take action for others
By interacting with this campaign, you have already taken steps to be more empathetic. Taking action can be big or small: donate some money to a favorite charity, call a family member and ask about their day, or read a book about people unlike yourself. All of these actions show your understanding and compassion.
5. Know when to pause
Empathy involves an emotional and psychological connection with another person. While this is a beautiful strength, know that it is perfectly okay to step back from empathizing. If you notice someone else repeatedly taking advantage of your compassionate actions, consider pausing to evaluate your own feelings. Remember: the best empathy is rooted in self-empathy.
So go forth! Observe carefully, listen closely, and act compassionately.
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