Image by Michal Huniewicz

Three Simple Ways of Practicing Empathy

Empathy exists in all human beings, and possibly all sentient beings, as a core emotional trait. But more importantly, empathy can be enhanced and put into improved practice for the betterment of employees, customers and, generally speaking, the society at large.

While the breadth and depth of human experience surely hold multiple ways to express empathy, here are three simple ones.

👟 First, remember the shoe analogy: only the wearer knows where the shoe pinches. This is arguably the gold standard when it comes to empathy. After all, we do repeat it so often in our conversations: “Just try and put yourself in my shoes!” But sometimes the most obvious things become all too easy to miss. Make sure to keep this habit of switching shoes, especially with those showing signs of discomfort.

🦻 Secondly, we can practice empathy just by listening. By being there. By turning an attentive ear to the pain, the grief, the sorrow of others without being judgmental, regardless of how trivial it may seem to us at first. Thankfully, we all can get better at listening: for starters, this article offers some great tips on active-empathetic listening.

🎁Give more than you earlier thought you would — that’s another great way of showing empathy toward those in need. For example, suppose you had agreed to donate a certain amount to a volunteer group helping out with pandemic relief. So, as one of them comes to you to collect the donation, surprise them by filling out the check with a higher amount than what you had promised.

The delight that we can generate by practicing empathy is priceless.

[The above post first appeared in a newsletter from Freshworks.]