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Stepping Into Another Person’s Shoes…

Empathy is defined as the ability to share and understand the feelings of another person. It’s the ability to identify and understand the wants, needs and viewpoints of those around you without experiencing them for yourself at that moment. Empathy is about acting and behaving with compassion. People with empathy are good at recognizing the feelings of others, even when those feelings may not be obvious. We’re more than likely familiar with the term “stepping into another person’s shoes.”

What does that mean and how can we do that in our professional and personal lives?

Being empathetic involves not judging someone else’s feelings, and at the same time acknowledging their feelings. You feel what the other person feels. An empathetic person can help to encourage listening, perspective and compassion. Someone with empathy is very much attuned to non-verbal cue sensitivity. Empathy enhances relationships through inner personal connection. It refers to your capacity or ability to imagine yourself in the situation of the other person, or knowing, by having experienced their emotions.

Empathy shows you care about someone else’s feelings, your support for them, their viewpoint, and about that person in general. It’s shared perspective or emotions. People feel validated when you show them empathy.

In the workplace it can help to build leadership, foster productivity, manage relationships, encourage engagement and rapport, and increase job satisfaction.

Empathy is:
– seeing with the eyes of another
– listening with the ears of another
– feeling with the heart of another

Here are some ways you can verbally express empathy in a business or personal situation:
– I see how hard you tried
– I can see why
– I understand how (frustrating, time-consuming, much patience)
– That makes sense
– If I were in your shoes
– If that happened to me
– I know it hasn’t been easy
– I know what that feels like
– That has to be (discouraging, confusing, hard)
– I hear the concern in your voice
– What I hear you saying is
– It sounds like
– I’ve been there

For some people empathy is innate, for others it may be a little more trying. Nevertheless, empathy enhances the world around us. Time to kick off your shoes and step into someone else’s…