Emotional Intelligence: How to Learn Empathy

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What is empathy, or social intelligence? According to scientists, it’s the ability to recognize and manage their own / others’ emotions, sense the situation, understand the desires of others, and be resistant to stress. Such skills seem tempting. After all, with them you no longer have to agonize with questions, like: why did someone do that; maybe they are offended with me; how do I make friends with them, and so on.

To begin with, it’s important to realize that empathy isn’t an innate ability. Which means it can be acquired and trained in the same way as the ability to ski or drive a car. Let’s try to find exercises that will teach you not to get caught up in your own and other people’s emotions and to control them.

Active Listening

No matter who you’re talking to, no matter what you’re talking about, take it as a chance to practice. Man isn’t just saying the words, he is accompanied by facial expressions, gestures, depending on the mood of different sentence construction. Maintain eye contact, your task is to observe. For example, if your partner’s pupils dilate, it means he is interested and enthusiastic – perhaps he likes you?

Don’t interrupt – you don’t need to convince anyone of anything right now, you just want to understand the other person. Don’t get distracted by the phone, games at Bet22, notifications, or anything else – the focus should be on the other person’s feelings. Don’t jump to conclusions: every reaction is always the result of a series of reasons. Avoid hasty judgments and stereotypes.

“I’m in the Other Person’s Shoes”

The easiest way to try this exercise is to sit a toy, a figurine, even a coffee cup, in front of you and imagine it’s you looking at another person. For example, a friend whose actions and feelings you can’t understand, and that’s why you’re angry at him. You are him right now. Relax, calm down, breathe deeply and slowly. Now say what your friend is thinking, what he likes, what irritates him, what feelings he has, why he decided to act this way or say that way.

This is an interesting game, during which you can realize many things: that your brother isn’t really pestering you on purpose, but just trying to get attention; that your best friend is jealous and afraid to look worse in your light; that your parents forbade you to go on a date not out of spite, but because they are terribly afraid for you.

Observe Yourself

Better yet, take notes. During the day you experience hundreds of different emotions. In order not to miss anything important, keep a notebook. A cup of fragrant tea, the frosty air, a call from a friend, people you meet on the way to the store or school, a good or bad book – all these things evoke emotions. It’s important sometimes to stop and think: what you are feeling now and why. Don’t rush to do or say something under the influence of strong impressions, first write them down and count to 10 and back. The more carefully you record them, the better you will understand and control them.

Observe Others

Every day we encounter lots of people, and everyone has their own life story. Surely you’ve wondered what they’re thinking, where they’re rushing off to? Why is one frowning, and the other smiling as they walk? Practice paying more attention to everything around you: including buildings, cars, birds, and sounds. Imagine yourself as a detective gathering information. Make up stories about passersby, mentally make assumptions, and don’t lose sight of details.

Read and Watch Movies

It sounds trite, but most good fiction books and movies are more likely to describe the feelings and emotions of characters than events. They can help you understand the motives and reasons for the actions and decisions of those around you and not divide people into bad and good. Why does the heroine of your favorite movie fall in love with this particular man? Why does the antagonist act this way and not that way? Don’t be afraid to criticize or disagree with the behavior of those you read or watch – it’s also part of learning empathy.

One last thing. Developing emotional intelligence has negative consequences as well. Experiencing someone else’s pain activates the same neural connections that are triggered by experiencing one’s own pain. So, as you develop empathy, you will feel other people’s anger, anger, and sadness as if they were your own. That’s why it’s important to be able not only to understand emotions but also to control them.