If you flip the pages of pretty much any newspaper, the world might seem like a bleak place without any empathy or compassion.
However, take a closer look and you are likely to find empathy examples in lots of places. It may sound like a cliché, but empathy can be as simple as lending a helping hand to an elderly person.
It’s an action triggered by a genuine understanding of another person’s emotions. And luckily, there are many empathy examples for you to observe – you just need to know where to look.
What Are The 3 Types Of Empathy?
Empathy is more complex than it might initially seem. There are actually 3 different types of empathy and each type comes with its own distinct characteristics:
1. Cognitive empathy
An empathic response usually starts with cognitive empathy. It is the capacity to sense how a person feels and understand what he or she is thinking.
For example, cognitive empathy might give you an upper hand in the negotiation because you know what the other party wants. It includes reading between the lines and picking up non-verbal cues.
2. Affective empathy
Affective empathy is also known as emotional empathy. It includes your ability to experience the feelings of other people. You feel the same pain, anxiety, or joy. This allows you to nurture a stronger emotional connection with the people around you, but it can operate as a double-edged sword as it puts you through extreme emotional ups and downs.
3. Compassionate empathy
This type of empathy moves you to take action. Understanding and feeling what others feel triggers the need to react and provide help in any way you can.
How Do You Show Empathy?
Creating quality experiences for yourself and the people you love is one of the best things in life.—Jon Butcher, Author of Mindvalley’s Lifebook Program
The first step to showing and developing empathy is to listen more. It means staying focused on what the other person is saying.
Empathy is about sharing emotions, so you need to open up to the other person in return. There is no need to divulge your entire life story, but you should be ready to share some vulnerabilities when the moment calls for it.
Mindfulness is another important aspect of empathy. Your attention should be focused on the exterior world. Employ all your senses to pay attention to your surroundings. Besides emotional perception, it involves sounds, sights, and smells as well.
People who show empathy don’t judge others. This might be easier said than done, especially when you meet someone for the first time. Nevertheless, remaining non-judgmental and unbiased is an important step in becoming more empathetic.
Try to put yourself in the other person’s shoes to comprehend their point of view. In doing so, you should fight off the urge to pass judgments and act on impulse.
Finally, don’t hesitate to offer help. It shows you are willing to dedicate your time to the needs of others. At this compassionate level of empathy, an empath may readily help others without regard to the personal cost.
What do you say for empathy?
Empathy is an excellent tool that can help you build interpersonal skills and grow as an individual. The ability to empathize also makes it easier for you to navigate complex social relationships.
What’s more, empathy allows you to harness your emotional power to become more courageous and creative. It can also be used as a tool for broadening your horizons.
Remember: empathy means keeping an open heart and mind to others and receiving as much as you give.
In essence, empathy isn’t so much about what you say as it is about what you hear. Empathy is about being open and attentive to the thoughts, emotions, and needs of others. It is the heart of honest, genuine communication.
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What are some of the acts of courage and empathy that moved you? Don’t hesitate to share the story with the rest of us in the comments below.