Empathy is the ability to understand the feelings of another person. This is an important skill that benefits all areas of our life, including work, family and relationships. A soft skill, the importance of empathy was traditionally overlooked however it is now commonly seen as vital to everyday performance. Here are 5 reasons why empathy is important:
1- Helps to establish strong relationships
Possessing higher levels of empathy allows you to build and maintain relationships more easily. You will have the ability to see things from another person’s perspective, deepening the connection that exists between the two of you.
2- Fosters trust and respect
All good relationships are built on trust and respect. Empathy allows this to happen, as you will be able to acknowledge the perspective of somebody else and see where they are coming from. This understanding also helps us to respect another person’s decisions, even if we don’t agree with them, because we can at least understand why they decided to do that particular thing.
3- Assists with negotiation
Empathic people can generally negotiate better. This is because they have a better understanding of what’s important to the other party and what they are hoping to achieve. If you understand why they want to negotiate, you can use this information to barter and land on a mutually agreed deal.
4- Allows for better communication
If you can understand another person’s thoughts and feelings, communication becomes easier. It is easier to understand how far you can push somebody and what things are strictly crossing the line. You are also better able to understand what drives the person and the things that they value, helping to lead and generate conversation.
5- Helps you to regulate your own emotions
The better you can understand and identify emotions, the better you can control them. Highly empathic people tend to be able to keep their own feelings in check as they can understand where another person’s actions are coming from. This understanding is key to managing our own response to a situation and is more likely to make us think before we react in an irrational manner.
Empathy is an important skill and despite the common misconception, it can be learnt and improved. It assists with our own behaviours and reactions in all areas of life, allowing us to understand another’s perspective and then use this information to make conscious, rational decisions ourselves.
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