How to Show Empathy When You Really Don’t Want To

Wanting to be an empathetic person is a worthy goal, and comes from a place of great love and connection with others. Showing empathy isn’t easy: if it was, more people would be doing it. Not being able to show empathy to others not only causes problems for them, it causes problems for you: a lack of empathy can cause conflicts in your personal and professional life, loneliness, and even alienation. Showing empathy isn’t easy, but here are some ways to be better at showing it!

What Empathy Looks Like

Being empathetic, or understanding the emotional well-being of others, is a skill that requires a deep connection with others and the ability to recognize people’s feelings in the moment. Here’s a real-life example of showing empathy: let’s say you have a friend who failed an important exam. Empathy is being able to share the feeling of anxiety and despair that your friend is feeling: it’s not simply saying “I’m sorry for you”. This emotional connection could come from you having experienced the same thing, or simply having a high level of emotional intelligence.

Professionals: Take Note

Empathy is important everywhere, but it’s probably most important in the office. When companies fail to show empathy to their employees, catastrophe tends to ensue in the form of high turnover, low morale, and bad productivity, all of which can hurt a company’s bottom line. Nonetheless, a lack of empathy is unfortunately a pervasive issue at many companies and organizations, even though there is strong evidence showing that companies that are more empathetic tend to demonstrate better job performance among their employees. This empathy is most often demonstrated when employees have personal issues or needs related to improving their work environment and culture. Be an empathetic manager and do your best to accommodate their needs. It will really benefit your company in the long run.

I’m Jessica Cox, and one of my goals as a person is to be empathetic to the people I meet and encounter on a daily basis. If you’re interested in having me share my ideas for living a happy and productive life with the attendees at your meeting, business convention, or religious gathering, please contact me.