What Does Empathy Look Like?
We know what a lack of empathy looks like. The news is often filled with unfortunate stories that show what happens when we’re lacking in empathy. A lack of empathy is harmful, it can lead to others being hurt. The thing is, we can show a lack of empathy without making the news. Many represent a lack of empathy in their daily lives just in how they treat people in and outside their circle. When you’re quick to judge or are more concerned about how something affects you than others, you may be lacking empathy. The problem with a lack of empathy is it hurts our society as a whole. We are worse off because of it.
More people should take measures to increase their empathetic nature. There are many ways to do this. Volunteering, practicing better listening skills and taking time to get to know others can help you build more empathy. Don’t be afraid to take time to meditate and consider what others might be going through or how they might be feeling. Many of us make quick judgments as to why someone did something or why they behave the way they do, instead of trying to better understand their intentions and back story.
Empathy is often seen in feel-good news stories, such as the man in Kentucky who owns a restaurant and caught teen brothers doing something bad. But, instead of turning them in or getting them into more trouble, he talked with them and offered them a job, in doing so, he gave them a second chance at life. If it weren’t for this man’s empathy, these teens could have gone down a different path. Then there’s the story that USA Today shared last year about companies who were willing to give previously incarcerated people jobs – allowing these people a new lease on life.
There are many ways people show empathy to others. It can be something as simple as shoveling an elderly person’s driveway or dropping off a meal for someone in need. “There’s no such thing as a small act of kindness. Every act creates a ripple with no logical end.” – Scott Adams
The way we treat others can have that ripple effect. Our behavior can provide hope and second chances or it can hurt and hinder others. So, ask yourself, what kind of impression do you want to have on others? What do you want your ripple effect to be?
[Monalisa Johnson is a licensed and ordained minister of the gospel and a certified life coach as well as a mother and entrepreneur. In no way is anything that she writes, speaks or shares considered medical advice or clinical therapy. Consider all that you receive to be life coaching and guidance.]