"Empathy can be likened to standing in another person’s shoes, understanding the feelings and values of another person’s perspective at any given moment. It begins with an internal choice to see from a different point of view, to understand another side of a story. Empathy is the state of being fully present to each other's feelings and needs. Empathy is not agreement, but rather a willingness to fully understand how things look from another’s point of view. To create empathic connection, one need not have ever been in the same situation of the person you are listening to - for example, even if one has never had a child does not mean that they would be unable to empathize with a parent.
Empathy is being present to what the other person is experiencing, not being triggered by it or trying to fix it. When we allow the person who is before us to simply be, without our values, judgments or decisions to be placed upon them, we are offering ourselves in what some have called unconditional love. Connecting with open-hearted curiosity accesses our natural ability to respond with compassion and clarity. It's an experience of mutual giving and receiving.
Empathy is the meeting ground where the needs of all are acknowledged and considered, including our own. When we deeply accept another, the other person is far more open to hearing and understanding us. With empathy we all have a greater chance of resolving conflicts peacefully and meeting our universal needs and values.
"I often say we've got a budget deficit that's important, we've got a trade deficit that's critical, but what I worry about most is our empathy deficit."
—U.S. President Barack Obama" http://nvctraining.com/courses/telecourses/IDEA/empathy-20090816/empathy.html
For opportunities to learn more about the value of empathy and strengthen your empathy skills, contact Shulamit 613-868-9642 or firstname.lastname@example.org Individual sessions are available for $75 each or a block of three for $200. Group workshops are also available. Please contact Shulamit for details.
You can also register for a series of FREE empathy teleconference classes at the NVC Academy, an NVC teaching organization I recommend very highly. For more information, see http://nvctraining.com/courses/telecourses/IDEA/empathy-20090816/empathy.html