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6 Habits to connect with others on a deeper level 💙

To lead a fulfilling life, empathy is an essential quality. It enables us to create a community, have more meaningful conversations, and feel less isolated. 👯‍♀️

However, as our interactions become increasingly virtual and globally distributed, we can feel disconnected from others. Habits of empathic people can help us build community and connection to make our lives - and the world - a better place. 🌎

But first of all, what exactly is meant by the term „empath“?

The term "empath" refers to a person who has the ability to understand and share the feelings of others. Empaths are highly attuned to the emotions of others and are able to intuitively sense what someone else is experiencing, even if they have not been explicitly told.🕵️‍♂️

There are three different types of empathy: affective, cognitive, and compassionate.

❤️ Affective empathy

Affective empathy (or emotional contagion) describes the mirroring of another person's feelings. When we see a person feeling pain or pleasure, our brain activates the same motor and sensory areas as the person we are watching. This causes us to unconsciously imitate that person's body language and facial expressions.

🧠 Cognitive empathy

This type of empathy is also known as emotion recognition, colloquially as sympathy. Cognitive empathy allows you to perceive and identify the emotional state of another person.

💪🏾 Compassionate empathy

This is the most active form of empathy. It is similar to the other two, but instead of just feeling pity, empathy motivates us to do something to improve a person's situation.

But why is empathy so important for us humans? 🤔

  1. Enhances Relationships: First of all, empathy helps to build stronger and more positive relationships with others. When we understand and share the feelings of others, we are able to connect with them on a deeper level and establish trust, mutual respect, and understanding. This can lead to more meaningful and fulfilling personal and professional relationships.

  2. Improves Communication: Furthermore, empathy is essential for effective communication. When we are able to put ourselves in someone else's shoes, we can better understand their perspective, needs, and concerns. This allows us to communicate more effectively, express ourselves clearly, and avoid misunderstandings and conflicts.

  3. Promotes Positive Social Change: Finally, empathy is a key factor in promoting social change and creating a more just and equitable society. When we are able to understand and empathize with people who are different from us, we are more likely to support policies and initiatives that promote equality and fairness for all. Empathy also helps to reduce prejudice, discrimination, and stereotypes, which can lead to more inclusive and diverse communities.

Here are 6 habits that will help you to connect with others on a deeper level:👇🏼

  1. Active listening - This means giving someone your full attention and making a conscious effort to understand what they are saying. It involves removing distractions, using direct eye contact, and mimicking body language to show that you are engaged in the conversation. For example, if a friend is telling you about a difficult experience they had, you can actively listen by putting away your phone, facing them directly, and nodding along to show that you are following their story.

  2. Using their imagination - Empathetic people often use their imagination to put themselves in someone else's shoes. They try to relate to the other person's experiences by imagining what it would be like to go through what they are going through. For instance, if a colleague is going through a tough time at work, you can use your imagination to understand what they might be feeling and offer them support and encouragement.

  3. Practicing non-judgment - Empathetic people try to approach situations without preconceived notions or biases. They strive to be open-minded and understanding, even when they don't agree with someone's point of view. For example, if you have a friend who has a different political perspective than you, you can practice non-judgment by trying to understand their reasoning and respecting their opinions.

  4. Asking thoughtful questions - Empathetic people often ask thoughtful questions to better understand the other person's perspective. They ask open-ended questions that allow the other person to share their thoughts and feelings in more detail. For example, if a family member is going through a difficult time, you can ask them how they are feeling and what they need from you to help support them.

  5. Taking action - Empathetic people not only listen and understand, but they also take action to help others. They use their compassion to motivate them to make a positive difference in someone's life. For instance, if a neighbor is going through a tough time, you can take action by offering to cook them a meal, run errands for them, or help with chores.

  6. Practicing self-care - Empathetic people also take care of themselves to ensure that they have the energy and capacity to help others. They prioritize their own well-being by getting enough rest, exercise, and social support. For example, if you are feeling overwhelmed by a friend's problems, you can practice self-care by taking some time for yourself to recharge and focus on your own needs.

Practice self-compassion! 🧏🏽‍♀️

Learning to be more empathetic will make those around you feel cared for and heard. But it will also help you develop compassion for yourself. Everyone's experiences are valuable and worth paying attention to, including your own.

If you acquire the habits of empathic people, you will notice these qualities in others too. When you surround yourself with other empathic people, you will experience more meaningful relationships and a stronger sense of community - and that is of immeasurable value. 💙

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