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:
- Practice committed, non-reactive listening by tuning in to the deeper levels of their message.
- Move away from right and wrong thinking.
- When you notice judgments in the mind, remind yourself about “different strokes for different folks.”
- Become more tolerant and accepting of the values and styles of others.
- Make room for the full range of intense feelings in yourself and others: fear, hurt, confusion, anger, sadness, grief, shame, guilt, joy, and happiness.
- Resist giving advice even if it’s solicited.
- Bring forth warmth, affection, and your open heart.
- Be willing to share your own personal struggles to normalize whatever struggle they are going through.
- Bring a sense of curiosity by asking more questions, in an attempt to understand the deeper meanings of their experience.
- 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.
- Show respect for the human predicament. We all make mistakes while we are learning.
- Understand the distinction between unskillful behavior and their character, and be sure to only speak about the behaviors.
- Look for their strengths and remind them of those strengths.
- Be grounded in the truth that we are all growing and there is an innate drive toward healing and mastery.