The journey of life is filled with several ups and downs. It is a road laden with bumps, and even the best of us struggle to make it through. The harsh reality is that life is hard on every one of us. More often than you think, people choose to swallow their feelings, put up a brave face and tackle everyday tasks. You never know when you could be standing next to someone who is trying their best to hold themselves together. In a world so cruel and life so tough, empathy must be consciously observed every step of the way.
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What is Empathy?
Empathy is the simple act of placing yourself in someone’s shoes and trying to understand their situation from their perspective. It is the art of being able to share another human’s feelings and understand exactly why they’re experiencing those emotions. Empathy is a trait that makes kings out of beggars. It is a habit that, if practiced regularly, can help you connect on a deeper level with loved ones, work associates, friends, or even strangers. By comprehending the emotions of those around you, you can provide support on an emotional level and make them feel heard and seen. Learning to observe empathy will assist you in all aspects of life, be it personal or professional. Practicing this habit consistently is key to creating relationships that last a lifetime. For your ease, we have put together a list of simple ways you can get a better grasp of empathy and learn how to incorporate it into your everyday life.
1. Get a Social Work Degree:
If you’re someone who is incredibly passionate about helping others and wants to pursue it as a career, consider opting for a degree in social work. Nowadays, many institutes also offer an online social work degree masters for students with hectic schedules. This way, students can create their personalized, flexible schedules and take classes without any hassle in the comfort of their homes. For individuals who see a future in this field, mastering the art of empathy is especially important. You’ll likely encounter people from all races of life. A professional degree provides you with the skillset needed to manage clients and interact with them.
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2. Cultivate Curiosity:
The key to enhancing empathy is by observing curiosity. Often our mindset becomes limited when we choose to refrain ourselves within our social circle. Curiosity in the world and the people around us allows us to encounter stories and worldviews different from our own. Interacting with new people and hearing their experiences can help you establish a much wider view of life. So next time you’re taking the bus on your way to work, say hello to the stranger standing by. Hear them out; maybe you’ll come across a story that’ll leave you jaw-dropped and open your eyes towards a whole new perspective.
3. Overcome Prejudices:
The society that we live in is obsessed with labels. People label each other based on looks, financial status, race, culture, ethnicity, and so on. Often without realizing it, we subconsciously start believing in these pre-conceptions put forward by society. Overcoming these prejudices is a crucial step in practicing empathy. Defining people before getting to know them means depriving them of their fundamental right to self-expression. We create an image based on the explanation provided to us rather than getting to know them on a personal level. It is necessary to remember that every human we encounter is unique in their way and that this individuality should be celebrated. So, the next time you are about to use a phrase like trophy wife, welfare mom, etc., stop and think for a minute. Ask yourself what your judgment is based on? Is it you or the society speaking?
4. Try Out Someone Else’s Life:
To work on your empathetic skills, walk a mile in someone else’s shoes, and I mean that quite literally. Try to step out of your life now and then to view the world from the eyes of another human. Go visit a church, a mosque, or any other house worship. Observe the traditions, values, and prayers of a religion other than your own. Volunteer at an orphanage or a shelter and see what life is like from the viewpoint of the less privileged. Spend time in a new neighborhood, visit their local go-to spots, eat at the nearby deli, and strike a conversation with a stranger. Gaining direct experience of someone else’s life, even for a day, is one of the best ways to broaden your perspective and enhance your empathy.
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5. Listen and Open Up:
Perhaps the key to fostering an empathetic bond is listening. Listening, not for the sake of responding but for the sole purpose of understanding where they’re coming from. By listening hard to others, we grasp their emotional and current state of being. We can only experience the true extent of their emotions when we know the cause behind them. But providing anyone with a space where they feel safe and comfortable to be their true selves requires more than just listening. Taking off our masks, being vulnerable, and expressing our own feelings are equally important to encourage empathy. Only when we are fully in touch with our inner selves can we get in touch with the sentiments of those around us.
6. Join Forces with a Shared Cause:
Another way to learn more about empathy is to join hands with others working towards the same goal. There are many causes out there that are working tirelessly to make people aware of the need and power of an empathetic mindset. For instance, you can participate in lectures about humanities, work in a community park or garden, volunteer in a home for the elderly, and so on. If you’ve been through a struggle of your own or have experienced grief or loss, you can conduct small group meetings to help others who have been through similar trauma.
Empathy is in every way the superpower of the common man. By viewing the world from the lens of another, you can unlock new perspectives every other day. You understand people and life on a level deeper than most and realize that the world has a lot to offer.