Understanding and Developing Empathy

Here are a range of techniques that you can use to understand and develop empathy. First and foremost and most fundamental, get to understand your own emotions. To increase your empathy you need to start with yourself. Pay close attention to your feelings and your emotional state. Try to identify and recognize and understand these feelings. Know what situations change your emotions. What gives rise to emotions that you like, what gives rise to emotions that you don’t like? use this knowledge to understand how you respond emotionally, and use this knowledge to understand how others are likely to respond emotionally interact with a wide range of people. look for opportunities to get to mix with get to know people of different ages, different ethnicities, different lifestyle choices, different socio economic backgrounds, and different levels of physical and mental ability. The more types of people that you know, and the more types of people that you interact with, the more experiences you’ll have to draw on as you work to increase your empathy. Seek out similarities between yourself and others. When you stress difference between yourself and other people, the harder it is to understand others. seek out those areas of shared interest of common purpose or similarities with people that you don’t like, or that you disagree with. Practice taking on another person’s perspective. train your mind to be open to views and ideas other than your own. Try to immerse yourself in different perspectives to get a better understanding of the issues. This can be done on a personal level, it doesn’t have to be done on a political or moral level. Examine the lives the works of famous empathetic people. It’s easier to become empathetic when you have good role models. Choose people deeply involved in a social cause that you respect, and read their biographies to gain a better understanding of how they use their empathy. Read good fiction and poetry and listen to a wide variety of musical styles. Fiction generally contains accounts of how specific individuals react to circumstances and situations. This can be emotionally evocative when viewed from their perspective, and it will help you to gain an understanding of different people’s internal states. Try to experience the emotions contained within poetry to experience how emotions are created with words through metaphors and similes. Try to experience the emotions contained within music. These are a range of tips and techniques that you can use to develop empathy. And I’m sure you’ll come across many others