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Empathy doesn't mean "be nice"

https://www.fastcompany.com/40576098/empathy-doesnt-mean-be-nice

fastcompany.com

Empathy doesn't mean "be nice"
Here's what empathy is: It's putting yourself in someone else's shoes, or at least sliding your feet into them and trying them on for size. It's about understanding and perspective taking. Sometimes, it can lead to a behavior shift that might make you more benevolent, but that's more a byproduct than a fundamental condition of empathizing.

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Empathy doesn’t mean niceness

Perhaps the only important thing that niceness and empathy have in common is that they’re both learned skills–behaviors that take practice. Beyond that, their resemblance is superficial.

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6 archetypes worth empathizing with

  • Seekers: unafraid to take risks or pivot;
  • Conveners host conversations and thrive to create the right circumstances for perspective taking. 
  • Sages value presence and make an effort to remain in the “now”.
  • Cultivators see the long game, the big-picture.
  • Inquirers ask deep questions and  gain perspective through inquiry.
  • Confidants listen and that leads them to connection and understanding.
  • Alchemists:  like to prototype and test ideas experimentally.

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Sympathy vs. empathy

Sympathy vs. empathy

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The three types of empathy

Empathy is the ability to share another person's emotions after having reached a good understanding of their suffering. There are three main types of empathy:

  • Cognitive empathy, which is defined as the ability to understand and to share someone else's emotions by imagining one's self in their shoes
  • Emotional empathy, which is based on shared feelings
  • Compassionate empathy, which is characterized by the need to actually help the other.

The threats of being emphatic

While empathy can make both you and the ones around feel better at times, there are also important dangers worth taking into account:

  • Empathy can often lead to unjustified anger
  • It can cause guilt and thinking that your own happiness has come at the cost or may have even caused another person's misery.
  • it can result in a great amount of fatigue.

Anger and Aggression

  • Anger: An emotion felt when we believe we have been wronged.
  • Aggression: is an act of expression of the anger, by our words our actions. Aggressio...

Validation and Boundaries

  • We can try and validate the anger felt by an individual by making them know that their anger is maybe justified while putting firm but respectful boundaries on their aggression.
  • We then need to be clear about what type of aggression we are willing to tolerate, setting boundaries on the unacceptable.
  • We may have to put our foot down and be ready to leave the conversation or escalate the issue, without falling into the trap of guilt and emotion.
  • If possible, we need to restart the conversation when things have cooled down, and diffuse the issue in a calm way.

Avoiding Speculative Self-Talk

Unchecked self-talk can easily turn into self-delusion. The stories we create almost always make you look like the good guy and cannot be termed as objective.

  • The way to get out of this speculative self-delusion is to avoid any speculation about other people's anger, at least initially.
  • Make sure to note down the facts of the situation. This can make the story less according to your gut instinct, and more towards the objective reality.

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Forgiveness

Forgiveness is choosing to not let negative events of the past define how you feel.

Forgiveness can keep your emotional body healthy. It increases feelings of happiness and decreases ...

Forgiving is not the same as forgetting

You can forgive someone and still maintain a boundary. They may not even necessarily know you forgave them.

When you hold onto anger towards yourself or others, it weighs you down, drains your energy and increases your stress.

Living in the past

Resentment forces you to live in the past by fixing that person to that past moment.

Do not let yourself or the relationship be defined by anger. The ability to forgive and move on is critical for maintaining a healthy and happy relationship with the people you care about.