Empathy, the most Important Skill of the 21st Century
I have mentioned on a number of occasions that empathy is one of the most important skills that you can have in life. I would dare say that empathy is the one skill that has the ability to take humanity into the next level of awareness. Empathy, once you have become proficient at it, will be a catalyst that will completely change the way that you interact with others.
Empathy can be a great advantage when you have to interact with others. It is very important for example that you always acknowledge the feelings that another person is having at the moment. There are many books and groups out there advocating some kind of social rapport, their final outcome being some kind of persuasive skill where you are able to get your way. They tell you about all sorts of tricks and techniques that you can do to make it seem like you are indeed in the exact same subjective place as the person that you are trying to persuade. How about if instead of trying to get one over on a person by making it seem like you understand what the person is feeling, that you actually learn how to empathize with that person and to truly see and feel where that other person is coming from?
It can be a very scary thing, for the ego, to try and empathize with another person. The ego feels like it might lose itself or that it might lose out because then the other person will have control over it. Through its limited understanding, the ego believes that it cannot possibly be able to see both its own personal perspective and the perspective of someone else. It believes that it will be lost if it empathizes too much with someone else, that it will lose its perspective and will therefore be at the mercy of the other person. This belief can scare you to the point that you will never be able to identify with the feelings and thoughts of the people around you.
The ego is not wrong or evil, it is just trying to help you by doing what it believes it has to do to be able to put you in a superior position. You can think of the ego as a small part of yourself that has been given the task of dealing with this objective reality in the best way possible. For thousands of years of human interaction, the ego has discovered some hard but strategically powerful methods to deal with the incredibly competitive aspects of reality. The ego will do what it has always done, which is to do its best to make sure that you survive in the best way possible.
But the ego can evolve if you let it. By understanding that the ego is a small part of you and not the whole, you can begin to grasp your ability to be able to use your ego in a more expansive way. By discovering the limitations of the ego, you will be able to see outside of it in order to realize a broader view. You can see past any egotistical view and discover a more holistic understanding of the things that are happening before you. By being able to see things beyond your ego, you can begin to train your ego to be more aware and more capable; this is the most important skill that you can develop in the 21st century.
If the larger part of you can realize that it can see its own personal perspective and also completely empathize with the subjective feelings of another person, then this realization can allow the ego to learn new things. If you can make these realization yourself, you can slowly train your ego to understand the fact that it will not be eradicated or overcome when it is able to empathize completely with the subjective reality of another person. Your ego then will start to become far more capable and flexible. This perceptive increase by the ego will allow you to have a far greater range of possibilities which can increase your success. In other words by expanding the range of the ego you are actually doing exactly what the ego wants; which is to become a more successful survivor.
When the ego has expended in this way, you can begin to empathize with another and see that person’s perspective and yours at the same time. Your ego will not be threatened, it will not shut down or try to block any perceptive feelings on your part. Without this interference by the ego, your perceptive abilities will increase and this increase in awareness will expand you as a spiritual person and as an objective being trying to survive in a three dimensional reality.
To empathize with someone else you have to essentially put yourself in that other person’s shoes. The best way to begin to do this is to imaginatively project a part of yourself into the other person and then allow yourself to experience what they are feeling. You might want to pretend that a part of you goes into that other person and that you enter that other person so that instead of you having one body, you now have two bodies which you can perceive from.
If you have worked on your ego, then it will be quite easy for you to be able to perceive what that person is perceiving and feeling, and to also be able to stay centered where you are. You will realize that you can either see completely from their perspective, only from your perspective, or from your perspective and their perspective at the same time. You will not fear losing yourself, of being overcome by the other persons feelings and will. You will not even be scared of any terrible negativity or pain that other person might be feeling because your ego will realize that even though it is empathizing with that other person, it is still itself intact. You can then let go of this empathic grasp at any time and not feel like you have to put up with feelings that you do not want to feel at the moment.
Instead of trying to develop some technique where you pretend or act as if you are in rapport with what the person before you is feeling; how about if you learn instead to empathize for real? How about if instead of trying to put one over on the other person, by acting like you really care about what they feel, you actually truly experience what they feel? How about if you become truthful instead of trying to deceive yourself and the other person? You can become far more than you might currently be letting yourself become. Learn to empathize with others and you will learn to help yourself and them simultaneously.