Everybody’s suddenly talking about empathy, from the Dalai Lama to agony aunts, from business gurus to happiness experts. And it’s not surprising, since in the last decade neuroscientists have discovered that 98 per cent of us have empathy wired into our brains. The old story that we are basically selfish, self-interested creatures has been debunked. Our selfish inner drives exist side by side with our empathic other half. We are homo empathicus.
The problem is that most of us haven’t yet learned how to switch on our neural circuitry and fulfil our empathic potential. And this really matters. Why? Normally we think of empathy – the art of stepping imaginatively into the shoes of another person and looking at the world from their perspective – as something that makes you a more caring and considerate person by expanding your moral universe. But empathy doesn’t just make you good – it’s good for you too. It can help heal broken relationships, make you a more creative person, and expand your wellbeing by forging the human bonds that make life worth living.o what does it take to up your personal empathy quotient? How can empathy play a bigger, more positive role in your life?
Here are seven tips.
Roman Krznaric’s book, Empathy: A Handbook for Revolution