How to be Empathetic

Have you ever seen someone do something that made you really mad? Something that was inconsiderate or rude? The feeling that I’m talking about is when you notice that not everyone is as nice as you are. That moment when you see that some people out there are actually a tad selfish or insensitive. Shocking, isn’t it?

Well, here is the reason I’m rambling about all this.. The other day, Gen and I were waiting for our Uber ride outside of a grocery store. While looking around, we noticed that there was a car parked diagonally in the middle of the lane. There was a woman sitting inside the parked car, who appeared to be waiting for someone. Now, this lasted a good 5-10 minutes. Everyone had to manoeuvre around her car, just to get in and out of the grocery store. I was quite shocked, not exactly understanding why this person couldn’t realize how much of an inconvenience her car was. This was very strange to me.  

To be honest, I really didn’t like this feeling. I didn’t like feeling annoyed and disappointed. That’s when it dawned on me. That thing that I’m sometimes all too familiar with, that quality that is so great to have. Empathy. If I could just take a moment, and well, relax, it might help me out. It’s shocking to see what relaxing can do. Things suddenly seem a lot more clear. Now, I admit, this time it may have taken me a bit longer than usual to relax, but when I finally did, this is what I realized.. 

 

 


How to be Empathetic

Shoes – Yes, this one might sound weird, but bear with me. You know that expression that says you have to walk in another person’s shoes to really know what they’re going through? Same thing applies here. I mean sure, that woman was standing in the way of traffic and people, but maybe she had had a bad day. Maybe she had car troubles. Maybe it was her first day driving in this sort of area and she just didn’t know what else to do. Okay, that last one might have been stretching it a bit, but you get what I’m saying. Just take a second to think about the other person and their struggles. I’ll be honest,  Gen sometimes has to remind me of this one.. very empathetic woman I married 🙂

Mirror – This one is kinda related to my last point. While  you’re thinking about how awful the other person is, take a moment to look at yourself. We often think we would never do anything like that, or that we would never be that inconsiderate, but how do you know that? How do you know exactly what you would do in that situation? Or, in any other situation? You may have made a mistake or two before. Nobody’s perfect. 

 

Honesty – Is this thing really bothering you? Is it just one of those things that you can’t let go of? Why don’t you try talking to the other person involved? Just try to be as polite as possible, and keep an open mind. You never know what you might find out! Of course, this doesn’t work in every situation. I’ll let you guys use your own judgement on this one.  

Sharing the Wealth – So this last one is important. Now that you have figured out this whole empathy thing, why not share the knowledge?  Explain to your friends how they can handle these situations. Raise awareness. Get more people to practice this kinda stuff.  Even better? Share this post with your friends! 🙂


When have you had to practice your empathy?  

When do you think empathy isn’t warranted?  When do you think it is? 

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One thought on “How to be Empathetic

  1. MamaSavesALot

    June 4, 2017 at 3:11pm

    I had a situation last month where I could have used this. I had someone insult me and write rude things on an ad that I had placed online. I was quick to react and said some mean things. I won’t say I regret my words, but it haunts me that I could have done better. I could have had empathy. I could have taken breaths, relaxed, and handled it more coolly. If I had done that, the situation’s outcome would have been better and my point would still have been made. I get angry and defensive as a reflex. I’ll be working on these techniques.

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    • Author

      Zoey Schvan

      June 4, 2017 at 4:31pm

      it’s very hard to remain calm at those times. I also tend to get very angry in the moment, over the years I’ve tried to practice waiting a bit before I reply. Doesn’t always work, though. Totally don’t blame you. Thanks so much for reading and commenting, it means a lot! <3

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    • Dawn

      June 4, 2017 at 11:12pm

      Let me be the referee here – you were totally right and she was a big meanie-head. However, if you feel like you could have been a little more polite for your own benefit then remember it for next time. But I remember that and you were totally justified.

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      • Author

        Zoey Schvan

        June 4, 2017 at 11:27pm

        Wow, is it bad that I’m totally intrigued? Lol, I’m like a child who loves drama. Yikes! Anyways, thanks for your comments, guys 🙂

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  2. jackie alecho

    June 4, 2017 at 4:21pm

    i really have to take this advice, this is really a skill i lack. And get really frustrated with people! A great idea for a post! Thank you for sharing with us. I do think a lot of people will benefit from advice like this!

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    • Author

      Zoey Schvan

      June 4, 2017 at 4:37pm

      Yep, I’m guilty of the same thing. I definitely considered approaching this person, took a lot to calm down. Thus, this post came about lol. I hope the post can be helpful to you! Thanks so much for reading and commenting, it means a lot! <3
      P.S. pinned your post! 🙂

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  3. Dawn

    June 4, 2017 at 11:15pm

    Thank you for this post…Things like you described bother me SO MUCH. I wish they didn’t. I’ll remember this blog post for next time something like this happens that doesn’t affect me at all. However, I will still continue muttering “A$$hole” under my breath when I am carrying the baby and people let the door slam in our faces instead of holding it until I can catch it with my hand 🙂 This happens a lot more than you might think!

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    • Author

      Zoey Schvan

      June 4, 2017 at 11:48pm

      Wow, just wow. Sometimes people do really shock me. I often mutter things under my breath as well. I can still be calm and continue muttering lol 🙂

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  4. The Sun Mama

    June 5, 2017 at 1:40am

    I always love reading your posts Zoey…. And thank you for this reminder for us all to have a little more empathy with others… We truly don’t know what is going on with them and their lives…

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    • Author

      Zoey Schvan

      June 5, 2017 at 3:01am

      Trying to be empathetic is important, but can definitely be challenging. Very well said, we never know the battles other people are going through, so I try to give people the benefit of the doubt. Thank you so much for your kind words, it means a lot to me 💖

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      • Lianne (your former buddy, grade 5-10.

        June 5, 2017 at 10:08pm

        I’m like that too Zoe. I always think that there’s two sides to a coin. I try not to judge till I know the facts.

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        • Author

          Zoey Schvan

          June 6, 2017 at 12:00am

          Lianne! So nice to hear from you! Your comment means a lot 🙂 How are things?

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  5. Samantha

    June 5, 2017 at 2:30pm

    Thank you for the post! I have a tendency to get awful “road rage” while shopping. It’s difficult at times to consider the other person when they are being an inconvenience. But it is nice to be reminded that it would help me more so than them in end by calming down.

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    • Author

      Zoey Schvan

      June 5, 2017 at 9:36pm

      Yeah, it’s definitely hard to stay kind and understanding when others aren’t doing the same for us. I just keep reminding myself that being patient is beneficial for me in the long run, not them. Thanks for your comment, Samantha! 🙂

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  6. daniella

    June 5, 2017 at 3:13pm

    I always get caught up in how horrible I think those ‘mean’ people are but then I realize I am also not so perfect. Empathy pulls us back down to the ground 🙂

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    • Author

      Zoey Schvan

      June 5, 2017 at 9:28pm

      Yes! Remembering that other people are not perfect and neither are we is just what keeps us sane 🙂 Easier said than done though, for sure! Thanks so much for reading and commenting, it means a lot! 💖

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  7. Claire - StartACraftBlog

    June 5, 2017 at 3:28pm

    This is an excellent post! I’m an empath… which is probably the extreme version of what you are trying to promote in others. I feel everyones emotions and absorb energy. It sounds crazy and I thought I was just overly sensitive but if I ever annoy or offend someone I feel their pain and my own (Catholic) guilt. It’s awful. I’m too empathetic. It can be both a blessing and a curse

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    • Author

      Zoey Schvan

      June 5, 2017 at 8:09pm

      Oh I’m the exact same. For me it’s the Jewish guilt though lol. I feel everyone’s feelings too much sometimes, makes everything intense. Definitely a blessing and a curse. Thank you so much for reading and commenting, it means a lot 🙂

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  8. Lena @Befithappy

    June 5, 2017 at 4:03pm

    Ok, I just realized in the real world you and me would be friends 😀 I love your ‘food for thought’ posts. Btw, my friends, coworkers etc. always comment how rarely I get upset at them. And, well it’s because I kind of think about the things you wrote…they might be having a bad day, troubles at home, they didn’t cuddle with someone for a long time… and any agitation I might feel at that moment fades.

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    • Author

      Zoey Schvan

      June 5, 2017 at 5:10pm

      Lol, where have u been my whole life? We definitely speak the same language 🙂 Your comment made my day, thank you! 💖

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    • Author

      Zoey Schvan

      June 5, 2017 at 6:44pm

      Thank you for this comment, it means a lot 💖
      Yes, the world would do a lot better with more empathy. To further state this point, I shall quote Ellen… We should all “be kind to one another”:)

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  9. Jessie

    June 5, 2017 at 8:50pm

    I just can’t see how people aren’t kind to one another. It really bugs me! As always Zoey love your posts!

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    • Author

      Zoey Schvan

      June 5, 2017 at 11:05pm

      It bugs me too! Boggles my mind, really.
      Thanks for your kind words, Jessie! I always really appreciate your comments! 💖

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  10. Chelsey

    June 6, 2017 at 7:44pm

    The world has become so self obsessed that people today won’t stop to help one another unless there is something in it for them. We need more posts like this the spread empathy among the masses. If everyone would stop and just lend a helping hand one time, think of how much stronger we would be as a nation and as individuals.

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    • Author

      Zoey Schvan

      June 6, 2017 at 11:46pm

      Yes, agreed! Stuff like this always makes me think of the movie Pay it Forward. What a cool idea! Thanks so much for stopping by, Chelsey! <3

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  11. Pip

    July 16, 2017 at 6:44pm

    I had a similar experience this week. Some builders next door are finishing an extension and the drilling and hammering has been going on for weeks. Today of all days, Sunday morning, when I needed a lie in they started again!! I was quite angry and wanted some peace and quiet. I understand what you mean and it’s good to be understanding. But sometimes, I feel enough is enough! 😉 Great post by the way and very interesting. Had definitely made me think x

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    • Author

      Zoey Schvan

      July 16, 2017 at 11:30pm

      Ugh, all that noise in the morning would drive me crazy! How did you get through it? I think understanding would go out the window with me in that case! Thanks so much for stopping by! 💙

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