What is empathy and how to be more empathetic?

We can say that the empathy It is a basic skill that we find within the interpersonal communication itself, since it gives us the possibility of maintaining a certainly solid understanding between two people.

Consists of the ability to put ourselves in the place of the other, and know what he feels, or even what he may be thinking at a certain moment. It helps us to understand the feelings that other people have, which also makes it easier for us to know why they act in a certain way. It is useful above all when it comes to preventing conflicts.

It is undoubtedly a skill, since we put ourselves in the place of the other, and we also let the other person know. Therefore, there are people who are more or less empathetic, and who are not entirely capable of understanding the emotion or motives of the other.

Empathic people have a very special ability, since they are able to capture a very large amount of information about the other person from their words, the tone of their voice, their position, and ultimately all those elements related to direct with his non-verbal language. We can say, in fact, that they are people who know how to "read" others.

Not in vain, empathy helps make our relationships with others more satisfying and rewarding, since when we are empathic, the relationship tends to become more profound and direct. That is, we feel much more in tune with others.

The word empathy is derived from the Greek word Empháteiawhich means feel inside affection. Although this term was already used at that time, it was not until the eighteenth century that an authentic etymological approximation of what we actually understand today was carried out. empathy, from the term EinFülung, of German origin.

How can we be more empathetic?

As we indicated, we can understand the empathy as the intuition of what happens to you and what happens to the other, without forgetting that you are yourself (Otherwise we would be faced with an identification, rather than with empathy).

That is to say, empathy consists in being able to capture both the internal references and the different emotional components of another person, and understand them as if one were this other person.

It is characterized by being one of the most valued qualities, especially in such a collective and social environment as is the society in which we develop our daily life, as it helps us to try to understand -and understand- what we are going through the person, so that they feel less alone and more accompanied.

Regarding the differences between empathy and identification, it is very common for the psychologist to lose the limits between both conditions, so that the specialist can be reflected in the patient's problems, thus losing all objectivity.

Eliminate prejudices

It is common for empathy to be lost when we tend to judge - even unconsciously - the person who is speaking to us. Obviously, your way of listening and responding changes noticeably if you have prejudices beforehand or not.

You must work to eliminate these prejudices little by little, and listen to the person completely, without thinking about anything else. It will help you to understand it better, and to know what is happening.

Remember that the first impression of a person, in most cases, is often wrong. Therefore, it is vital to be able to always maintain an open and flexible mentality.

Do not be in a hurry and respect the times

Sometimes we get impatient when we are talking to someone, either because it takes time to express themselves or because it tends to spread a lot. Our answer? We interrupt his speech and try to anticipate what he is trying to tell us.

Another key to being more empathetic is having patience and respecting the other person's times.

Being silent we also respond empathically

Although through the word we can express how empathetic we are with the other person, silences -and gestures- also have a lot to say, especially when you need to express yourself and you just need to vent. This article is published for informational purposes only. It can not and should not replace the consultation with a Psychologist. We advise you to consult your trusted Psychologist.

The Importance of Empathy (September 2019)