Students in Cafeteria

Is More than a Social Skill

When I began my studies in journalism, the professor of Psychology of Communication, Amalia Carroz, developed a topic in which she dealt with 'empathy' in detail. Her analysis and educational didactics allowed me to root the concept in such a way that in this episode I want to talk about that communication skill and social ability that is so transcendental, and that is part of emotional intelligence.

Putting yourself in the shoes of others, understanding their needs, feelings and problems, that is empathy. It is said easy and for some people it is simple, for others not so much. Empathy is born from recognizing that each person is, in himself, is a story and that personal history is written according to the factors that influence it throughout his life.

Empathy is learned, and it grows as we get to know ourselves and our emotions. This is how we approach our reality, the reality of others and understand them.

In other episodes I have talked about how valuable it is not to judge others, according to our ideas, perspectives or beliefs. Judging implies that only our point of view is correct. We measure others according to our own system of what is correct and what is not. Each person has their own standards and systems that are determined by the factors that influence during the growth or writing of that "story" that is each human being.

The biological factors with which we are born; life experiences; family history and cultural factors such as nationality and race make us unique and define who we are, how we behave, our decisions and our path. Our place is to understand that no one has walked in our footsteps and that we have not walked in their footsteps, therefore, our experiences, feelings and points of view will be very different. To respect and understand is to be empathetic.

In the episode 'The Value of Diversity', I tell you that diversity reflects multiplicity, one that should be uniting and not separating and that by valuing it, we gain personal growth, information and experience. Thus, empathy shares meanings, achieving a synchrony between the one who speaks and the one who listens and in which both feed off each other and grow.

As you can see, empathy has to do with communication and interpersonal relationships. Both are very complex because they encompass feelings, thoughts or ideas and attitudes. And communication is not only verbal but also corporal.

Thus, empathy helps us to listen to the other and to respect different thinking, accepting what the other thinks and feels, recognizing that every experience is valuable and that they are opportunities for personal and intellectual growth and rapprochement with the other. That is, empathy helps us communicate assertively.

The truth is, empathy and assertive communication go hand in hand. Listen and understand. Active listening allows us not only to understand the message of the speaker, but also to put ourselves in their place with an empathetic attitude, free of prejudice. The one who speaks tries to make the other person, from who he is, understand. Empathy allows us to know and understand our interlocutor.

An empathic person knows himself and recognizes his weaknesses. He communicates from himself, but with the shoes of his interlocutor. He is tolerant, does not criticize or judge. Actively listen with the ability to put yourself in another's shoes. He advises and recommends if requested, and does so with humility. Understand that each person is and thinks differently.

Puerto Rican psychologist Veroshk Williams says that to communicate with empathy it is necessary to forget who is right with the idea that it is not a matter of being right or wrong, avoiding confrontation, how? Accepting to disagree.

In such a way that in this globalized world in which we live thanks to the internet and its multiplicity of platforms, it is increasingly imperative to develop empathy and perfect it, as well as knowing how to communicate assertively.

To develop empathy, we can start by understanding ourselves. Then listen to others, understand them and convey our support.

Do not judge others and on the contrary, be understanding and respectful.

Show interest in the other person, paying attention to their verbal and non-verbal communication, responding appropriately, affectively. Active listening.