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Appreciate people for who they really are – everybody is different and we need to accept that fact. The mediocrity of conformity no longer serves us and we cannot expect people to fit into our mould or the mould of the status quo. We need to understand that the differences in others and the reason why we have noticed these differences are not there so that we can judge others, but rather that the differences are there for the very reason that we need to love others, not judge them.
Walk in their shoes and understand them – the old saying walk a mile in another mans shoes is true. The only way to truly understand someone is to imagine yourself in their position and as far as possible see things from their perspective. When we are able to do this, we start to emotionally connect with the person, understanding their reality.
Understand their feelings – to understand feelings we need to separate the facts from the emotions, this can be done by looking at what the real facts are and then understanding the emotions that have led to this point in the persons life. This point could be a high or a low. Being empathetic is about understanding the persons viewpoint and the emotions attached to that viewpoint.
Communicate with understanding – this is our greatest challenge to being empathetic. Questions are the answer hear as asking questions force us to listen to the answers, so force yourself to ask questions instead of giving your commentary. Empathy is about your concern for the other person to find an opportunity to lift them up. Listening properly to someone is one of the greatest gifts you can give them, so our real duty is to keep them talking so we can keep listening.