“When you increase empathy toward others, their defensive energy goes down, and positive energy replaces it. That’s when you can get more creative in solving problems.” ~ Stephen Covey

Increase Empathy Definition: Recognizing and appropriately responding to others’ emotions.

Importance: By actively practicing empathy, people are empowered to deepen their relationships with others. Empathy is the ability to put yourself in someone else’s shoes and understand how they feel. It’s a remarkable ability – and opportunity – to form an emotional connection that fuels insight, trust, and helps us solve problems together.

Example: When someone is acting in a way that makes you angry or uncomfortable, empathy opens you up to the possibility of reconciliation. Instead of making assumptions about why the other person has acted in this way or that way, empathy opens you up to exploring the underlying emotional drivers of that person’s actions. Doing so often results in the formation of an emotional connection with that person, because we realize that they are also dealing with a complex emotional landscape that goes beyond what we see on the surface.

Increasing empathy helps you to deepen your relationships. It’s the link between self and others, how we connect, heal, and relate. As social creatures, humans are quite literally wired to feel empathy, and making the effort to practice empathy more frequently will bear the fruit of having deeper, more meaningful relationships – which in turn leads to a successful life professionally and personally.

The Components of Increase Empathy

Focusing on others is a precursor to empathy. The most basic component of empathy is noticing others. 

“Self-absorption in all its forms kills empathy, let alone compassion. When we focus on ourselves, our world contracts as our problems and preoccupations loom large. But when we focus on others, our world expands.” ~ Daniel Goleman

Replacing assumptions with a sense of curiosity opens us up to empathy. As this story illustrates, curiosity opens us up to empathy. At Six Seconds, we like to use the metaphor of the iceberg. The behavior we see from others is only the tip of the iceberg, and the rest of the iceberg represents the emotional drivers behind that behavior. A sense of curiosity opens us up to looking beneath the surface and figuring out the deeper reasons why something has happened. 



Emotional Intelligence Articles about Increase Empathy

Illuminate: What’s Behind Your Mask? (11/5/2018) by Maria Jackson - How often do we wear masks? Do we actually spend most (or all) of our lives wearing a protective costume so that we can hide who we really are? Learn about your unique masks in this simple + meaningful activity.
Empathy vs. Sympathy: Understand the Crucial Differences and Why Empathy Drives Connection (10/30/2018) by Michael Miller - Want to deepen your relationships? You need to understand the difference of empathy vs. sympathy, and why empathy fuels connection.
What Makes for A Good, Long Life? One Clear Answer from Research Study (10/29/2018) by Maria Jackson - "It's useful to know it's a choice worth making." The results from an 80-year-long research study clearly identify what we should focus on for a long and fulfilled life.
Your Limiting Belief Demystified (by Your Sandpaper Person) (10/22/2018) by Maria Jackson - It's prickly, but it's worth it. Learn more about your own limiting belief + tools for working through it, all thanks to the person who most annoys you. Take this moment to learn compassion- for yourself and for them.
Parents, Want Less Conflict with Your Kids? Try Empathy (5/5/2018) by Joshua Freedman - You've told your kid "a million times" and frustration is rising. What if there was another way to see the situation? Here's a 90-second tip for parents to use empathy to diffuse conflict and frustration.
EQ in Practice: Personal and Organizational Wellbeing (3/21/2018) by Six Seconds - To practice EQ means you are seeking opportunities to tune into emotion, making careful choices about how you are thinking, feeling, and acting, and doing that in a way that's purposeful.
An (Emotionally Intelligent) Love Story for this Valentine’s Day (2/14/2018) by Maria Jackson - This Valentine's Day, I am two-weeks post-surgery. No fancy dinners or moonlit walks on the beach for me. But don't worry, I am still being extravagantly loved in the most emotionally intelligent way.
Increase Wellbeing Practicing Self-Compassion (10/29/2017) by Anabel Jensen - Be compassionate… not just to others, but starting with yourself.
Putting Social Emotional Learning into Action: 5 Essentials to Make Schools Great Places to Learn (8/13/2017) by Six Seconds - Q: What will it take to make schools into great places to learn? A: Here's a free kit to discuss the research plus answers from top EQ education experts.
Building Trust in Turbulent Times: Lea Brovedani The Trust Architect (7/26/2017) by Rachel Goodman - How can we build trust in times of trouble? The Trust Architect has some words of wisdom about the "Five C's" of trust building. Caring, Commitment, Consistency, Competence and Communication.

Click here for more Increase Empathy articles on our site


Recommended Tools

EQ for Families: Empathy Workshop: Empathy is essential for caring, prosocial, and supportive relationships. This emotionally-engaging module equips you to teach parents and caregivers raise more empathic, conscientious, and aware children.
Empathy Cards: Explore the meanings of empathy with this set of photo cards. The cards can also be used to explore preconceptions, race/age/sex/class-ism, trust, and/or decision-making.
Mixed Emotions: A tool that helps you make decisions, solve problems, resolve conflicts, and more.
eMotion Cards:  The Emotion Cards are an engaging, easy to use, interactive activity. The cards encourage you to Evoke, Explore, Express, Expand the world of feelings.
Whole-Hearted Parenting Kit: The Whole-Hearted Parenting Gift Set includes the book, Whole-Hearted Parenting, eMotion Cards and our new Value Sort Cards for Parents.

Michael Miller

Writer at Six Seconds
Michael Miller is a writer and contributor for Six Seconds who lives in Santa Cruz, California. He is passionate about living a balanced, healthy lifestyle and helping others to do the same. You can reach him at [email protected]

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