Dear men, you are allowed to have empathy for people.
I was having a conversation with a guy yesterday and I was telling him about some of the struggles I have been experiencing lately. As I began to speak, it dawned on me that I was only wasting my time. I honestly do not know what I hoped to take out of our conversation or the feeling I hoped to evoke with my little story. All I knew was, I wasn’t going to continue talking to someone who came across as aloof while I was sharing something important.
Now, for those of you who might be wondering what the conversation was about, I cannot categorically divulge this to you on this writeup but you can always send me a message privately. I didn’t feel any sense of empathy on his part. Note, that the emphasis lies on empathy rather than sympathy.
According to 6seconds.org, Empathy means experiencing someone else’s feelings. It comes from the German word Einfühlung, which means “feeling into”. It requires an emotional component of really feeling what the other person is feeling. Sympathy, on the other hand, means understanding someone else’s suffering. It’s more cognitive in nature and keeps a certain distance.
Empathy simply means feeling with while sympathy means feeling for.
Back to my story; He kept interrupting me and never said anything that would seem like he understood what I was talking about. Oh well! what a shame! You don’t talk to people as much, they complain. You talk to some; they can’t even hold a conversation. It is sad! Holding a conversation is not always about your replies. Have you thought about the words in your sentences or the way you express your opinion? These things factor into communications that’s why they always matter.
I remember years ago, I had just been recently bereaved and a course mate was trying to express condolence about my loss. Do you know what he did? As the words came out of his mouth, “I am sorry for your loss”, he began to laugh. He stopped laughing and had a big grin on his face. I was lost! Sincerely, at that moment I couldn’t tell if he was actually sorry or happy. I honestly couldn’t tell. This right here is the cause of so many misunderstandings. People say or do things but claim to mean something else and they expect others to understand them, even when they have failed to express themselves properly.
Although, studies have shown that women are more empathetic than men it doesn’t mean men are incapable of empathy. I know sometimes you don’t necessarily have the right words to truly express how you feel. It is also very possible that the muscles in your face might not always convey your emotions and how you truly feel. You can begin to change that and work on it. It is also very possible that your texturised voice might not reveal your sincerity after a fight with your partner but you
Ways to become more empathetic.
Examine yourself and get other people’s assessment of you on the subject matter.
Assess your character personality and identify where you have to change. The question is, have you always been unempathetic or are you a victim of your environment or genetic makeup. It is also important you get the opinions of loved ones. Ask them how they perceive you to be an appeal to them to be as truthful to you as possible. The result of this evaluation will be beneficial to the way you interact with others
Cultivate curiosity about people.
The curiosity of the mind is a great tool. When you are curious, you become more observant. That is, you become better at reading moods, and emotions. This can be very helpful in many situations. A curious mind is an active mind. Getting curious about people will help you in understanding them better. Have you been in situations where you see people cry and you just don’t get it? Have you ever tried to ask them why they are crying and still not get it? Better yet, have you ever been curious as to why you don’t cry when you are sad and why you see people who cry as weak?
Identify unconscious biases
We all have biases we subscribe to. If you are reading this and you disagree, it is because you actively participate in these biases ungraciously. Employers have biases, business owners have biases, children have biases, old people have them too. It is no surprise that most employers recruit a firm or someone other than them to help in recruitment processes. As humans, we have sentiments, prejudices and some topics spark these biases. This is why without knowing it, someone talks about a particular issue we have already made up our mind on what ought to be / should have been. Some men will never get close to a guy who has been seen crying publicly. They will never! To them, it is a taboo. It is important to identify your biases for yourself.
Put yourself in other’s shoes
The fastest way to be empathetic is to put yourself in other people’s shoes. When you do this, you have a better understanding of how they feel, of their opinions and perspective. Putting yourself in another person’s shoes does not mean you are agreeing with them or changing your opinion about an issue. It simply means you understand the other person enough to know why they have taken their stance. It is not an impossible thing to do.
Over the years, the “new normal” has been to self-diagnose one’s self with attention deficit disorder. This has been the order of the day. Stop giving excuses for your imperfections. Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is indeed more common than most people think. However, some have decided to use this to manipulate the facts of their personality error.
I have written about the act of listening so many times that I’m afraid I might get penalized by Google ????.
Listen to understand and not to win fights and arguments. Listen because you can and not because you think that’s what is expected of you. Listening promotes your personal development and gives you the patience required in living a happy life.
Dear men, try to be more empathetic. Having empathy doesn’t make you unmanly or hide that you have struggles too. Stop making assumptions just listen, connect and relate to the feelings of others. Start today!
Don’t forget to share!
Well we are all not the same…but most importantly you should listen and see to what the next person is saying….
Nice write-up, Miss Pelumi. You should have clarified better with the subject matter. I want to put it to u that people usually have more sympathy for people than empathy, because in most cases after which people have heard your plight they will only give advice based on what they know. I mean based on their understanding but not really giving the adequate support needed to solve the particular issue shared with them. This happens especially if the person is just a normal friend and not ones relative or blood. One exception may be if the person is deeply close to us. That’s only when u will see someone feeling the way we feel. When the situation is not so, people will just give their advice based on the way they feel at the moment and not a long term feeling that leads to an effective solution to the issue. Nice work, Lulu.
The reason why most people would naturally sympathise with someone, rather than empathise dwells in the fact that empathy is a bit more difficult to handle and deal with. Thus, they would naturally want to go for the easier option. Thank you for reading.