A Whole Month of Empathy
Happy October. The ideal month to go apple picking, dig out your fall fashion and dive head-first into all things pumpkin spice. October is also empathy month here at Prezence. One of the three relationships we focus on as a brand is how we create and maintain healthy relationships with the people around us, and what better way to do so than through empathy?
The dictionary describes empathy as: the action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experience of another of either the past or present without having the feelings, thoughts, and experience fully communicated in an objectively explicit manner. So, a lot of empathy is intuitive. It takes self awareness and emotional depth to see the world through another person’s eyes. Luckily, there are ways to sharpen your empathetic skills, and we aim to expand on them this month.
We all want genuine, solid people in our lives who show up, time and again, to help us in our hour of need, right? Even though every friend you have in your life won’t deliver on this level (unless you get really, really lucky) the most important thing is that you continue to lead with empathy and kindness and set a high bar for what you’re willing to give and receive from your friendships.
So, how do you lead with empathy?
Set a daily intention to be more empathetic (you can create a daily intention reminders in the Prezence app, by the way). This reminder will, over time, become second nature to us and we’ll find ourselves being more present during conversations and more thoughtful in our responses.
Allow yourself to be vulnerable. Yeah, it’s scary. That word alone tends to set people on edge. But it’s important, especially in today’s society when people tend to prioritize their appearances over sharing real, genuine experiences with each other. Embrace being a human, smile at people on the street—each small step you take is shaping you as a more genuine person, plus you’re sharing your growing gift with the world along the way.
Treat everyone equally. There’s so much more to people than just your first impression of them. And you can learn, grow and benefit in some way from every person you interact with. Try to treat every conversation as a learning opportunity, you never know what tidbits of information you’ll pick up from even the most unlikely of individuals.
Ask more questions. Ask yourself them. Ask your friends. Challenge people at dinner to talk about more than their latest promotion or vacation, talk about the world, talk about provocative, thoughtful things we tend to avoid. Thinking on a deeper level will bring us to new heights of empathy and human learning.
We’ll be touching more on empathy as October goes on, but in the meantime be sure to jump into a Prezence meditation about how to thoughtfully pause and appreciate the relationships around you. Even though growing as an empathetic person is a life-long experience, there’s always room to improve and keep empathy top of mind right now in this present moment.