I taught a class with a fellow coach and friend a little while ago about Empathy. We showed in The Model how empathy is an emotion. Thoughts that lead to empathy are: “I can understand why you would feel that way.” “I have felt that way before.”
It was very intriguing to me, in the class, when one woman gave us an example of something she found difficult. So many of us couldn’t help ourselves but to give her solutions without really understanding HER thoughts and feelings. We were trying to solve her problem with OUR thoughts and feelings.
We were nowhere near the position to be able to help her with her problem. We hadn’t gotten to empathy, yet.
We are empathetic when we listen, ask questions, and really hear THEIR thoughts and feelings, not imagine OUR thoughts and feelings in that situation. Once we REALLY get to empathy, our actions follow easily. Usually, the most helpful thing is to just listen. As humans, once we’ve talked our problems through, we usually have a pretty good idea of what our answer is.
Empathy is being with someone in their pain and struggle, it’s not taking it away.
P.S. The video on the link is an old video. I offer free 45 minute coaching sessions. They’re amazing and will have you seeing clearly what the problem is and what your solution is. Sign-up here if you’re ready to feel better.