How Much Empathy Do You Have?
Empathy is when you care about others in both sadness and joy.
Empathy allows you to understand where another person is coming from even if you don’t agree with them. It bridges differences and opens communication with others. The world needs more empathic leaders, parents and people in every profession.
How to Develop Your Empathy
If your empathy is low, it is a skill that you can developed through mindful awareness. To do this first quiet your inner chatter so you can bring your total presence to a conversation. Then take the time to listen carefully to what the other person is saying. Even if you don’t agree with them, try to understand what they are experiencing and feeling. This will allow you to develop more empathy for the other person and improve your ability to communicate with them.
How to Cope with Empathy Overload
If your empathy is high, you might be prone to empathy overload. To avoid this, it’s important to learn to center and protect yourself and practice on-going self-care. When you find yourself overwhelmed, take a breath to center yourself and make time to meditate and decompress. Get out in nature to relax if you can. It’s also wonderful to learn how to set kind but firm boundaries with others so you don’t over commit yourself. In addition, it’s important to realize that it’s not your job to emotionally fix others and that people deserve the dignity of navigating their own healing path.
No matter what your empathy level is, it’s always possible to develop more empathy and to protect and center yourself if you are experiencing empathy overload. You don’t have to absorb the stress of the world. More information and protection strategies in my book “The Empath’s Survival Guide” and “Thriving as an Empath”.