Most of us have the capacity to empathize – although, it may be at varying degrees. The ability to recognize and comprehend the mental and emotional state of the people we come in contact with, helps us in more ways than one. While being empathetic has numerous positives, it is essential to keep in mind that it has some potential negatives as well. Here are six ways in which empathy can enrich your life and what may happen if you have too much of it.
1. Empathy Increases Your Sense Of Humanity
Your capacity to understand the things that may offend or hurt the people around you makes it less likely that you will do so yourself. The fact that you able to empathize with what people feel, increases your sense of humanity. You are more likely to make decisions that prioritize the relationships you value.
2. People Feel Understood When They Are Around You
The people around you will soon come to see you as someone they feel safe expressing their thoughts with. Empathy helps you become non-judgmental and this trait is one that people appreciate. The fact that your intention is not to correct or impose your own ideas on them and that your kindness is genuine, draws people to you.
3. You Have Fewer Conflicts In Your Relationships
Most conflicts in relationships arise from a lack of understanding between the parties involved. Empathy in relationships nourish and strengthen it as it enables the individuals to put themselves in their partners shoes. Having empathy helps you accept and overlook your partner’s faults.
4. You Become More Effective At Resolving Conflicts
Being empathetic doesn’t mean you never experience conflicts with people. But having empathy enables you to resolve the conflicts more efficiently and peacefully. People who are empathetic are less likely to say “you’re wrong” and “I’m right.” They will more likely try and see the issue from the other person’s perspective and then offer their own views in a non-threatening manner.
5. Empathy Helps Increase Tolerance
People who lack empathy are more likely to shut out or get mad at individuals who hold different world views from their own. They may find it easier to judge and and form a negative opinion about the people they disagree with rather than attempting to understand why they think the way they do. Being empathetic increases your general tolerance for the people around you. It makes you more open-minded toward people of different cultures, nationalities, political ideologies, religious beliefs, and patterns of thinking.
6. Self-Empathy Is Essential For Personal Growth
Yes, you can direct empathy towards yourself as well. Listening to your own needs and desires and being able to show compassion to yourself is essential to begin the process of self-healing and self-loving. Many of us may be understanding of others but at the same time beat ourselves up for not achieving everything we set out to. But looking at our own lives with empathy helps us accept ourselves and thereby learn to accept those around us.
Keep In Mind That Negative Empathy Can Lead You To A Bad Place
While being empathetic has several pros, too much of it may cause more harm than good. Empathy is healthy as long as you are not experiencing negativity as a result if it. In some cases, people who are empathetic and highly sensitive get overwhelmed by the suffering of the people around them. They may experience feelings of confusion, guilt, sadness, and pain and may not be able to emotionally detach themselves from the person or situation. If you are experiencing this right now, remember that you can always reach out and talk to a professional about it.