Empathy: needs focus on others

word of month character

Have you ever noticed how many times people are so focused on their own needs, wants and feelings that there is very little time or effort spent on how others might be feeling.   Last month we talked about being open-minded and accepting the differences of each other, and what better way of doing this than to be aware of the needs of others as we make decisions.  To do so effectively we must understand the feelings of other persons.

Some have put it this way, “We must climb inside the other person”, “Walk in their shoes”, to really be able to respond to situations in a way that is empathetic.  The very first step in this process is to be able to read and understand people’s feelings.  This calls for taking the time to listen and observe body language, gestures, tone of voice and other observations to help us understanding the other person. 

The step of listening is so important in this observing.  Not just hearing but ‘deep listening’ , observing where they are coming from and why they be taking the stand that they are taking.  Of course asking good questions and listening closely to the answer without pre-judging or thinking we know the answer is the first key step in being motivated to respond to the needs of others.

How good are you at understanding?  If you were to rate yourself on a scale of 1-10 where would you be at this point, and more important – what could you do that would increase the score?  This month lets consider this together and see if we can raise our awareness in ourselves and in those around us.