Caring is something we are all familiar with and also, do. But did you know that caring for a person requires more than the will to care for them? One such important thing is the ability of an individual to empathize. Although the capacity to understand and feel for a person is easy, empathizing, on the other hand, is not. It is not something that a person is born with rather, a skill that is learned over time.
What Is Empathy?
If you have ever been a caregiver, there might have come a time where the person you were caring for was in pain may be due to a surgery or bad news. You put yourself in their place and understand their feelings regardless of whether it is physical or emotional pain they are going through. You identify their feelings on a personal level even though you did not have surgery in life. This is what empathy is.
A research institute that studies sciences associated with well-being defines empathy as the ability of an individual to sense another person’s emotions along with the ability to imagine what they might be feeling or thinking.
Empathy is divided into two main dimensions – Cognitive Empathy and Affective Empathy.
It is the ability of an individual to identify another person’s perspective or feelings towards things objectively. And for a caregiver, possessing cognitive empathy is very essential.
Also known as emotional empathy, it refers to the ability of an individual to feel what the other person is feeling.
How Can You Improve Your Empathy?
Maintain Eye Contact
Eye contact is important when you are talking to anyone, and specifically while communicating with the person, you are providing care. Imagine a situation when you are talking to someone about what and how you are feeling about a particular situation, and you notice that the person is looking away or scrolling through their phone. You would not feel like sharing with them anymore as you feel they do not care.
Hence, in order to empathize with a person, you should look at the person you are caring for. The next time the person you are caring for is talking, look at them and pay them undivided attention.
Yes, as simple as it may sound, listen. A lot of people hear, but they don’t listen. Also, listening is one of the best and quickest ways to improve your empathizing capacity. Keep an open mind and remain interested in what the person has to say so that you do not make assumptions. Listen to their entire story before you decide to think you know what they are feeling.
Observe Facial Expressions
You can understand a lot about how a person is feeling through their facial expressions. Hence, next time you are talking to the person you care for, look at their facial expressions as they are a giveaway to what and how the person is feeling. Use their expressions as clues to understand their plight.
Your Body Language
Another strong language is your body language. It has been found that people who sat down and discussed were found to be more caring and compassionate than people who were standing. Therefore, next time you are talking to the person you are providing care to, don’t just sit down but also be mindful of your posture. Face the person, keep your arms open instead of crossed, and let your feet face them.
Tell Them You Understand and Mean It
It is a common mistake a lot of people make, not telling the other person that you understand. The best way to let them feel that you understand is by telling them.
At Anvayaa, our caregivers and healthcare professionals are all very empathetic and make sure that your loved ones receive the right compassion and care they need.