14 Ways to Cultivate Empathy

An antidote to being judgmental. Linda: Some people are under the false impression that empathy is something that you either have or you don’t…


Here are some practices for cultivating empathy:

  1. Practice committed, non-reactive listening by tuning in to the deeper levels of their message.
  2. Move away from right and wrong thinking.
  3. When you notice judgments in the mind, remind yourself about “different strokes for different folks.”
  4. Become more tolerant and accepting of the values and styles of others.
  5. Make room for the full range of intense feelings in yourself and others: fear, hurt, confusion, anger, sadness, grief, shame, guilt, joy, and happiness.
  6. Resist giving advice even if it’s solicited.
  7. Bring forth warmth, affection, and your open heart.
  8. Be willing to share your own personal struggles to normalize whatever struggle they are going through.
  9. Bring a sense of curiosity by asking more questions, in an attempt to understand the deeper meanings of their experience.
  10. Remember that there is no such thing as win-lose in relationship. There is only lose-lose and win-win. We both win through understanding.
  11. Show respect for the human predicament. We all make mistakes while we are learning.
  12. Understand the distinction between unskillful behavior and their character, and be sure to only speak about the behaviors.
  13. Look for their strengths and remind them of those strengths.
  14. Be grounded in the truth that we are all growing and there is an innate drive toward healing and mastery.