Have you ever had problems flowing with someone you’ve never had a conversation with? Do you fund it hard to spill out the right statement at the right time to a person in distress? Most people call this sympathy. Sometimes it’s tagged understanding. However, an all encapsulating term people most times are trying to refer to is empathy.
Empathy is simply, understanding, sympathising, and capped with taking an action. When we empathise, we give our best to understand people through a combination of what they say, do, think, and even feel. Could be a good or bad scenario, but taking action when necessary in either case requires those 4 categories of understanding. The end goal of empathising is to reveal a goal or motivations so the next line of action from us is justified.
The world would be a better-off place if people attempt empathising before taking action. The government would be doing more good for more people if it attempts empathising with the relevant majority of its country before passing bills and making decisions.
A judge would be making a more informed decision if she/he goes to the length to empathise with case units (lawyers, jury, victims, culprits).
Sherlock Holmes, the fictional amazing investigator, is a great product of good empathising.
Empathising also helps reduce bias in actions or judgements we make. Humans are so susceptible to bias that one of the popular cases is we constantly looking for information that makes us believe we are right. We tend to ignore or feel uneasy with the ones that say otherwise. It’s just how we are. However, learning to emphasize helps reduce the risk of falling into the biases trap of making bad judgements.
To emphasize is like making research. You have to assume the role of a detective. Free from bias and ensure your emotions don’t play a major role in helping you think. To emphasize, you’ll have to have a background of those you want to emphasize - who are they, where are they from, what’s their demography.
Next up is documenting what they usually do - their habit, a common action they take. Next is understanding what they say and think. What they think can be extracted from what they say and do. Then, you'll have to try understanding how they feel based on what they do, say, and think. You can go about this by just observing or finding a way to interview your target.
Halfway through, you’ll need to understand their motivations, fears, frustrations, what drives them to say, do, and think. This helps you understand the next action to take if needed.
Empathising is an amazing skill that is highly useful in almost all activities and professions. A doctor needs to understand their patient before testing or treating, a lawyer needs to understand his client, a King needs to understand his subjects. Empathising should be normalised as it generally makes the world carry out human-centric actions which are pivotal to make it (the world) a better place.