You can teach one thing. What is it?

This question is a favorite at dinners. My answer is always the same: Empathy.

“Empathic connection is an understanding of the heart in which we see the beauty in the other person, the divine energy in the other person, the life that’s alive in them.” —Marshall Rosenberg

What is empathy?

Now, more than ever, empathy is an essential teaching. Empathy is:

  • The capacity to consider another’s perspective
  • Learning about another’s worldview to better understand their behavior and intentions
  • Recognizing perspectives and experiences different from your own
  • Trying to minimize the distance between self and other
  • Choosing to “put yourself in their shoes”
  • A prelude to compassion
  • Essential for collaboration, understanding, effective discussions, and conflict resolution

It is our duty to find ways to listen, to converse, and to respond in ways that are respectful of the person sitting across from us. Trouble begins when we are unable to see us in them.

What do you need to practice empathy?

Empathy is NOT sympathy or pity.

We need empathy. We need it in our schools, our relationships, our governments, our businesses. The ability to connect reminds us of our shared humanity. Empathy requires:

  • Self awareness
  • Confidence
  • Openness
  • The ability to listen
  • Communication skills
  • Patience

When empathy is involved, relationships can flourish. Conversations become more meaningful, and solutions focus on what really matters.

Empathic intention influences those around us.

How can you bring empathy into your daily interactions?

Modified from original post Empathy 101.