Everyone goes through hard times.

When you do, you may feel unheard and invisible, as if those around you don’t really know what you’re going through. Sometimes, all you need is for someone to listen and relate. This is what empathy looks like. Improve your empathy with one of our relationship coaches.

Why it is important to show empathy

Increase trust between yourself and others. When you’re genuinely empathetic, you understand others’ pain points and are in a unique position to communicate with them. You are therefore better equipped to offer them what they need to overcome their individual pain points. You can show them that you recognize where they are coming from and build trust through shared perspectives.

Work better with teams. In a stressful work environment, when your colleagues are having a bad day it can be tempting to react emotionally. You may label them as lazy, get angry at their poor output or find yourself shovelling more work their way in an effort to see results. Reacting with empathy, however, is often a better solution. If you can get to the root cause of what is bothering them or impacting their productivity, you can start to help them recover their best work. Reacting constructively in this way also improves your working and personal relationships.

Handle conflicts better. Empathy makes you a better communicator. When conflicts arise, you know what to say to the other person to diffuse any emotional bombs. You will not resort to insults or low-level arguing. Instead, you will relate to their viewpoint and work towards finding a common ground.

Release your grudges. Sometimes you hold on to resentment towards people unnecessarily. The sister that didn’t come to visit you in the hospital when you broke your leg, the friend that wouldn’t look after your hamster over the holidays… Holding grudges without understanding the reasons behind another’s behaviour can be draining. By thinking empathetically, you can start to release these grudges and feel closer to others.

Becoming more empathetic

Increasing your empathy towards others requires you to work on your emotional intelligence, or EQ. You will need to become more aware of yourself and others. Sometimes that might mean getting out of your comfort zone to experience new things.

Expose yourself to new cultures, seek out different opinions and try new things. Go to a mosque or a synagogue, for instance, or volunteer in a community project. By seeing life through a different lens, you can learn to appreciate different cultures, races and viewpoints.

Coaching can help you broaden your perspectives and challenge your views. Develop an action plan to develop empathy and improve your communication skills with a relationship coach.

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