How we can show empathy to help others...
Fear, uncertainty and worry are just some of the emotions many are experiencing given the impact of the global pandemic. As lockdown restrictions start to ease, these emotions do not just disappear, for many they are more real than ever as we navigate through the key decisions we are now facing. Others will be experiencing emotions of excitement due to new opportunities, a greater sense of gratitude or a renewed appreciation for what they have in life.
We can and do experience a whole range of these emotions on any given day. One thing that is certain - no two people will be experiencing or dealing with these emotions in the same way.
In many respects we are now feeling and experiencing greater uncertainty as we use our own judgment along with government guidance on what we should and shouldn’t do as we navigate the months ahead.
A parent or guardian - Do I send my child back to school?
A business owner - Do I now plan a return to the office?
A family member - Do we now add to our 'bubble'?
We are using our hearts and our heads as we make these key personal and professional decisions.
Empathy is crucial because it helps us understand how others may be feeling so we can respond appropriately to them in a given situation. Research shows that greater empathy leads to more helping behaviour. We have seen this in abundance over the last 3 months with a much greater appreciation and respect for all front-line and key workers.
Emotion researchers generally define empathy as 'the ability to sense other people’s emotions, along with the ability to imagine what someone else might be thinking or feeling'.
I have attended many webinars over the last 12 weeks and delivered webinars myself, where empathy, humility and kindness have been a real focus of discussion.
So how can we show empathy at this time, given the range of emotions those around us are dealing with and how can we ensure that we continue to do so in the future?
The following provides some simple pointers:
-Listen – truly listen and actively listen to others
-Open up a little more – showing your own authentic self can encourage others to trust you
-Focus your attention outwards – focus on others and not just on self whenever you can and feel able to
-Withhold judgement – take time to get a deeper understanding of someone’s situation before you make your judgment
-Offer help to others - this links to my focus on giving
-Practice curiosity – be interested in people (ask how others are doing)
-Challenge your own prejudices – just because you feel you are right, consider and respect others' views and opinions
-Treat others with respect and importance – we are ALL equal
I have recently qualified as a EQi emotional intelligence practitioner - empathy is a key part of our overall emotional intelligence. I love working with my clients to help them develop the key skills of empathy so they can help others that they lead, manage and work with more empathetically. This focus also helps them to look after themselves better too.
If you want to discuss more please do get in touch.