Article written by: Beatriz Anguis Sanchez
Perhaps on some occasions you have not felt heard due to lack of feedback, support or understanding. On many other occasions, you may feel that you have not been able to adequately and empathetically attend to the emotional state of the other person and you ask yourself: What do I need or should I do to be more empathetic in my daily life?
Fundamentally, the components of empathy are the following:
1. Know how to listen
Pay attention to what the other person explains or argues, pay attention to nonverbal manifestations, as would be the case with gestures that correspond to the state of mind that is verbalized, and do not interrupt the verbal discourse.
In addition, reflect on what the other person is communicating to you, express signs of active monitoring as feedback: looks at the face, nods or reflects facial expressions congruent with what he is explaining to you the other person.
On the other hand, it is necessary to show interest by asking for details about the content of the conversation.
2. Interpret nonverbal cues
It includes the transmitted messages of a paralinguistic nature, such as intonation, response time, volume...
3. Show understanding
We can show consistent understanding of what they explain to us through phrases such as: "I understand that you acted like that." "I understand how you feel". “The truth is that you must have had a great time”…
The emotions of the person expressing them should not be invalidated, rejected or judged since this is a fundamental premise to show empathic sensitivity.
4. Provide emotional help if needed
It is important to always ask our interlocutor if you need any kind of help. However, on many occasions, with the simple act of actively listening to the other, we allow them to “ventilate” and manage their emotional state. In this way he feels relieved to have a reliable listener to whom to transmit his emotions.
When the person who listens empathetically has experienced an emotional situation similar to the one being expressed, the communication process is more fluid, since a greater emotional harmony is produced.
Why practice it?
Empathy, as an emotional intelligence skill, is important because it makes it possible to experience different benefits.
- It allows you to enjoy social relationships by participating more with the group of friends, colleagues or family.
- It helps to feel personally better.
- Facilitates conflict resolution.
- Predisposes to help others and share.
- Increases charisma and attractiveness.
- Lets be more respectful.
- It develops leadership, negotiation and collaboration skills, as well as being better considered by others.
How to cultivate empathy?
Practicing empathy helps us broaden our perspectives and thereby enrich our world with new ideas., views and opportunities.
It is a key social skill that, as we have already seen, allows us to listen better, understand and ask better questions, three fundamental aspects of good communication. In addition, it is one of the bases for building solid and enriching relationships, based on trust, communication and respect.
You can incorporate into your routine Three simple practical exercises to improve your empathy.
1. Ask and show interest
Start any meeting or conversation with open and personalized questions: How are you? How about at work? How is the project you started going? How was your vacations?
Showing closeness and interest in the other person, you make room for them to open up and simply receive.
2. Read theater scripts
Read theater scripts and focus on one character. Search the text for what lies beyond the words; The personal history, previous experiences, the fears that it hides, its desires and illusions, the emotions that are on the surface...
3. Choose a person
Choose a person at random and try to find out through their non-verbal communication what moves them (emotion and thought) to do what he does and how he does it. A good time to carry out this exercise is on public transport, in a cafeteria... These places are rich in scenes since they can be used to put empathy into practice.