12 Actionable Tips to Fix Lack of Empathy and Become a Strong Empath
Many people share a common misconception that empathy is something you were born with.
Although it can be true in some cases, empathy is a skill that you can learn.
By training your mind to become more attuned to empathy, you shift your mindset until empathy becomes second nature to you.
Today, you’re going to learn how to become a strong empath and turn empathy into a superpower.
Ready? Let’s get started!
Why Is Developing Empathy Important?
Empathy enhances your ability to relate and understand the people around you. It also helps you better manage disagreements and resolve conflicts. It helps strengthen your relationships and make it easier to form new ones.
Others will feel safe with you and even view you as a someone who can heal them emotionally.
You’ll find it easier to forgive those who have wronged you and let go of any resentment because you can see things from their perspective and understand where they’re coming from.
How to Become an Empath?
To become a strong empathy, try the following strategies:
#1. Connect With Yourself
Before connecting with other, you must first connect with yourself. Connecting with yourself is about becoming someone who is centered and less likely to be distracted easily by what’s happening around him.
Some of the best techniques that will help you connect with yourself are meditation and spending time alone.
Meditation helps you find balance and inner peace. It’s especially helpful to manage your day-to-day stress. It helps you control your mind and emotions.
Spending a few minutes every day in your own company, is another way to connect with yourself. This could be part of your meditation sessions, or it could be done as part of your self-care routine.
#2. Put Yourself in Their Shoes
This is one of the most basic yet effective strategies to grow your empathy skills. Whenever you find yourself in a conversation with someone, imagine what things look like from their own perspective.
You might not realize it, but often, we become too absorbed in defending our own point of view that we forget that it’s not the only right way to see things.
What you might brush off as being too dramatic, or silly, might be a very serious matter to someone else. Being an empathy teaches you to see beyond your judgment and connect with the other person.
#3. Think More about Them
Train your empathy skills by giving the people around you more deep thoughts.
For example, when you’re eating a delicious meal, think about the people who prepare it for you, the hours they spend in the kitchen so you didn’t have to, the people who grew the ingredients and those who helped to ship and deliver them to your local restaurant. All of this so you could sit and enjoy the fruit of their labor.
They don’t have to be directly in front of you so you can make the connection. Connect with them by silently giving them a quick thank you and pausing for a moment to appreciate their work.
#4. Eliminate Prejudices
Most of us are prejudice without intending to. We automatically set up a barrier when being approached by someone of a different race, gender, or religion.
Being prejudice is going to prevent you from feeling empathy, unless you work on getting rid of it.
That can be done by challenging your prior beliefs and the prejudices you already have. Start viewing people and places with an open mind. At the end of the day, we’re all humans and we should mutually respect one another
Relate to those you think are different by finding some common ground, something that makes you similar.
#5. Become Curious
The older we get, the more disconnected we become and the more we tend to keep to ourselves, especially when we’re not naturally extroverts. However, becoming an empath requires nurturing your curiosity about people.
Find opportunities to engage with other people and strike conversations with them, especially those who are different from you and you normally wouldn’t connect with. This will help you get rid of more barriers.
How to Improve Empathic Listening?
Time has become a scarce resource. Everyone is rushing after something. It has become increasingly difficult to exercise patience and listen to others.
As a result, our interactions became more and more cold and void from real connection and empathy.
This is why it’s important to practice empathic listening; be willing to listen before speaking, understanding instead of criticizing and comforting instead of judging.
Empathic listening will significantly improve the quality of your interaction and strengthen your relationship, whether it was with your spouse, family member, friend, coworker, or even the barista at your local coffee shop.
How to Practice Empathic Listening?
The following are 7 strategies to develop empathic listening:
#6. Keep in Mind That It Is Not About You
When you remind yourself that this is not about you, you place your conversation partner above your needs.
You might not be his therapist, but if you want to encourage him to share a personal issue for which you’re ready to provide support, put aside your personal opinion and make sure you’re available emotionally.
#7. Put Away Your Phone
It became almost natural for us to check our phone or answer a text message while the other person is pouring their heart out. We got in the habit of checking our social media every 5 minutes that sometimes we forget about the person right in front of us.
So if you want to offer empathy and create a deep connection, put your phone away and ask the other person to do the same.
#8. Be an Active Listener
Active listening is about being present and exclusively focused o the person in front of you. An active listener is constantly seeking a better understanding of the topic in discussion and how the other person is feelings.
But that doesn’t mean you have to nod and listen in silence. Both partners exchange insights and ideas but most importantly relate with one another emotionally.
One technique that can help you understand your conversation partner and let him know that you’re listening and understanding him, is ‘paraphrasing’.
All you need to do is to listen to what the person is saying and rephrase his message to make sure you understood him.
Along with paraphrasing, studies suggest that clarifying questioning and remembering details are essential elements of active listening.
Related: How To Communicate More Effectively
#9. Refrain from Judgment
When someone shares something personal, it’s important to remind yourself to refrain from evaluations, criticism, or negative feedback.
If the other people’s problem seems ridiculous, or even infuriating, remind yourself that this is not about you and that your goal here is to understand and provide emotional support.
Any form of judgment will only make it difficult for you listen, understand, and empathize.
#10. Watch Your Body Language
Body language has a significant role in communicating understanding and empathy.
Adequate posture and gestures can help you bring people closer and get rid of barriers.
Adopt a relaxed posture with open arms and constant eye contact to make the other person feel welcome and safe. A friendly pat on the shoulder or a warm hand can also help the person feel safe and relax.
#11. Refrain From Giving Unsolicited Advice
When people feel the need to open up and share something personal, the last thing they need is to be told what they should do.
Remind yourself that empathic listening is about understanding and connecting.
#12. Don’t ‘Fill Up’ the Silence
Moments of silence make most of us feel awkward, but silence can sometimes communicate more than words. It can be an important part in a conversation.
You can use silence to allow your conversation partner to take charge of the conversation or give him time to consider you input and collect his thoughts.
Silence helps you communicate with your body language to express empathy.
An empath isn’t just someone who was born with the natural gift of empathy. Everyone can learn how to be an empath and connect with other people.
Empathy isn’t just about understanding emotions, it’s also about being and acting. By changing your attitude and displaying more love and care, empathy will become a part of your personality and you’ll be surprised at what difference it can make in your relationships and life.
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Did I miss anything?
Now I’d like to hear from you.
Which techniques from today’s post are you going to try first?
Or maybe I didn’t mention one of your favorite techniques.
Either way, let me know by leaving a comment below right now!
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Portions of this article were adapted from the book Attachment Theory Workbook ©, April 19, 2020, by Emily Attached. All rights reserved.