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We can overcome our empathy deficit

Given our current circumstances after six months of the pandemic, and not being anywhere near a new normal, you would think that we would be sensitive to the realities of the people around us. Well, according to Scientific American, it turns out we’re not. (( https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/the-us-has-an-empathy-deficit accessed 200918))

Empathy is a powerful force and human beings need it. Here are three things that might help to remedy our collective empathy deficit:

  1. Take the time to ask those you encounter how they are feeling, and really listen. Try to put yourself in their shoes. Remember that we all tend to underestimate other people’s emotional distress, and we’re most likely to do so when those people are different from us.
  2. Remind yourself that almost everyone is at the end of their rope these days. Many people barely have enough energy to handle their own problems, so they don’t have their normal ability to think about yours.
  3. Finally, be aware that what is empathy for one person may not be empathy for another person. It’s not a concept that speaks for itself. Asking your friends, family, and coworkers what empathy is for them might open a new door to understanding and helping those around us.

 

 

By Richard Brisebois

I help companies develop their leaders. I help managers develop themselves and their teams.
Richard Brisebois is a leadership development professional who has worked with 7,000+ managers, leaders, and business owners in 40+ countries, from Fortune50 executives to SME business owners and tribal leaders. He specializes in designing and facilitating leadership development programs as well in team coaching.