Empathy is the capacity to feel another person’s feelings, thoughts, or attitudes vicariously. St. Peter counseled Christians to have “unity of spirit, sympathy, love for one another, a tender heart, and a humble mind. St. Paul also encouraged empathy when he exhorted fellow Christians to “Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.”
- Listen more, talk less. Step back and listen for two things: what the other person is feeling and what the other person needs. Give them a chance to express those feelings and needs, and repeat back what they’ve said so they understand you are hearing them
- Offer prayer. Have you ever had someone offer to pray for you when you were struggling? Think about how great it probably made you felt that someone wanted to do that for you. You can do the same for others to show you have empathy for their situation.
- Read fiction. It’s strange but true! Studies are showing that living a life other than your own through fictional characters’ lives helps develop empathy for real people outside of books, as well!
We can all do with a little more empathy, both from and for each other.