Have you ever met people who are sincerely concerned for your well-being and are there for you when you need them? People like this are compassionate, empathetic and loving. For some, this comes naturally, for others, it takes work.
It’s important to be compassionate and empathetic because you never know what others are going through. When people are troubled, they sometimes show it on their face. Others put on a brave smile and seem happy. The point is that you don’t always know other people’s personal struggles, so it’s a good idea to always practice compassion and empathy. Here are a few ways for showing compassion.
Practice Compassionate Listening
It’s easy to become consumed with technology. We check our social media accounts, texts and email accounts constantly. Resist the urge to do that when talking or having dinners with friends. Instead, hear what they say. More than just hearing, listen to what they say. Look them in the eye, actively listen to what they are saying and offer advice if you think it’s appropriate.
Advice is not always needed. Many times people just want to be heard. They are not seeking someone to solve their problems, they just want to get it off their chest.
Learn to be Empathetic
Empathy is not the same as compassion. You can be compassionate to someone but not be able to fully understand what they are going through.
em.pa.thy – the ability to understand and share the feelings of another
To become truly empathetic, you must put yourself in someone else’s shoes. Think about what it would be like to face the same struggle your friend is telling you about. Consider exactly what you would do if it were you. Once you get to that level of understanding, you have become empathetic.
I’m sure you have unconditional love for someone. It may be your spouse, children or siblings. When you have it, you know it. It does not matter what that person does, it does not impact what you think of them or how you treat them — you love them unconditionally. Practice this same approach to people outside of your immediate circle and you may be surprised how uplifting it can be.
With the hurried life we all live, it’s a great feeling to make personal connections with others and be compassionate and empathetic to their needs. What strategies have you used to become more compassionate and empathetic?
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