The Thought That Counts - Podcasts on Emotional Intelligence from Ei4Change

The Thought That Counts : Episode 2 - Being Empathetic

May 13, 2020 Robin Hills Episode 2
The Thought That Counts - Podcasts on Emotional Intelligence from Ei4Change
The Thought That Counts : Episode 2 - Being Empathetic
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Robin Hills (Director, Ei4Change) regularly contributes a series of bite-sized, inspirational soundbites for Bolton FM.

Featured every day for a week as The Thought that Counts, these were broadcast on the Breakfast Show around 7.20 am and on the Lunchtime Show usually around 12.20 pm.

This podcast covers

  • The Golden Rule and Being Empathetic
  • Empathy and Sympathy
  • Persuading and Influencing
  • Diversity
  • Taking offence

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Unknown Speaker :

I live in Bolton, whichin Greater Manchester. I was invited to contribute to The Thought That Counts slot on my local radio station, Bolton FM. The Thought That Counts is usually broadcast on the Breakfast Show. It's about 7.30 and the lunchtime show it's about 1.30 over a period of a week. Each broadcast lasts about 90 seconds. On this occasion, my reflections cover; The Golden Rule and being Empathetic, Empathy and Sympathy, Persuading and Influencing, Diversity, Taking Offence. I put all of these together as hints and tips into this podcast. I hope that you enjoy it. The Thought That Counts. "Do unto other people what you would want them to do to you." This is known as The Golden Rule. You will have learned about the golden rule as you were growing up. The Golden Rule has been around for centuries. Its origins probably developed from rules for successful communal living, and there are references to it in all the major religions. This includes Buddhism, "Hurt not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful". Islam, "That which you want for yourself, seek for mankind." Confucianism, "Do not impose upon others what you do not desire others to impose upon you", and Christianity, "All things, therefore, that you want people to do to you, do this to them". This is a great rule to live your life by and if everyone lived by the Golden Rule, the world would be a happier place. However, the Golden Rule starts with self - I will treat you as I wish to be treated. The Golden Rule ignores the wishes and the preferences of the person who's receiving in favour of imposing the giver's preference onto others in a misguided attempt to kindness. What would it be like to treat others as they wish to be treated? The Platinum Rule is an even better rule. "Do unto others as they would wish you do unto them." Following this rule means you're not treating others as you want to be treated, but treating them as they want to be treated. Both rules would work and have good intent, but I think the Platinum Rule helps people be more empathetic and more sensitive. The Thought That Counts. When people think of empathy, they often think first about sympathy and compassion. Sympathy is taking pity or feeling sorry for others based on your feelings for them. Whilst empathy is an act of listening and understanding feelings, so sympathy is an act of reacting emotionally to prevent or alleviate suffering. When you show sympathy, you take a position of superiority. Empathy is much broader in scope than simply feeling for or with someone. Empathy is about understanding things from the other person's perspective; what they see feel and want, and truly trying to understand their situation. Sympathy sets you apart, empathy brings you together. This involves deep active listening, which goes way beyond hearing and understanding the words being used. This is a very difficult skill to master. Empathy is about being able to send and read signals that people are sending as they communicate with you. If you have good empathy, you're able to read between the lines of dialogue and work out what a person's motivations are. Empathy is an individual ability, one that resides inside each person. Empathy doesn't come naturally, you had to learn empathy by being taught it through the relationship you had with your parents or carers, and the manner in which they demonstrated empathetic behaviours. So, sympathy is about doing something to make you feel better. Empathy is all about sensing another person's feelings, creating a situation that is acceptable to all. The Thought That Counts. To influence or persuade another person to change their mind or behave in a different manner, you need to start from where they are. You need to start to understand how they're seeing and perceiving the situation around them. What may be important to you may not matter to them. If they don't think the message that you're sending them is relevant to what they feel is important, they won't be interested. When people feel that their viewpoint is under attack, they dig in, harden their attitude and resist. This is particularly true if they're unaware of how your viewpoint differs from theirs and they're not given good reasons to see things differently. The very existence of their reality is under threat, and their primary objective will not be to change their mind. Listening is an important core component of empathy and building rapport. You don't have to possess a psychologist's listening aptitude to develop listening skills. If you don't possess a natural aptitude for listening, you have to work at developing the skill. Everybody likes to be listened to and understood. It affirms and validates us as human beings. People who provide you with opportunities to be heard, and the time to listen to you are rewarded with your trust and loyalty. It doesn't mean giving up your viewpoints and accepting them as true. It just means respecting their reality, their points of view and working with it. The Thought That Counts. Diversity can be thought of as understanding, working with, and accepting difference in people. It describes those human qualities that are different from our own and outside the groups to which we belong. We're all individuals with unique qualities, yet diversity is about more than just differences. It's about recognising those differences, accepting them and allowing them to change our perceptions. A person's primary dimensions of diversity are described as core, because they exert an important impact on early socialisation and have a powerful sustained impact throughout every stage of our lives. These six dimensions represent the core of our diverse identities. These are things that typically we cannot change and have no control over -our age, ethnicity, gender, mental physical abilities and characteristics, race and sexual orientation. For some individual's, there may be a seventh dimension included in the core - religion. This is a core difference for some of us, but not for all. The secondary dimensions of diversity are those that have an element of choice and include religious beliefs. Whilst each dimension of diversity adds a layer of complexity, it's the dynamic interaction amongst all of the dimensions which influences your self image, values, opportunities and expectations. They give definition and meaning to our lives by controlling a synergistic, integrated whole - the diverse person. The Thought That Counts. Taking offence and being offended is a natural consequence of engaging with other people. Everyone sees the world in different ways. They have different experiences and so have different views. They have the same rights as you to make judgments. Just because you take an offence at something someone does or says does not mean to say that you're right. Being offended quickly escalates to criticism, judgement, bitterness and unforgiveness, which hurts relationships and even your health. Being easily offended is a difficult habit to overcome. It usually indicates poor understanding of your own emotions in favour of a strategy of trying to change the behaviour of others. But you can't change the behaviour of others. You can only change yourself and that requires humility and open mindedness. Remember, one consequence of taking offence too often is that people may begin to be extremely cautious around you or feel a little nervous discussing their ideas, their thoughts or feelings with you. What's more, you're keeping yourself in a place of increased tension and anxiety - a harmful state for your mind and body. Even if you may see other benefits in taking offence, instead of taking others actions and comments personally, consider them as interesting information. "I wonder what's going on for her?" Or, "Wow, he must be really stressed!" My name is Robin Hills. I'm from Ei4Change, Empowering your Emotional Management. The Thought That Counts. Transcribed by

The Golden Rule and Being Empathetic
Empathy and Sympathy
Influencing and Persuading
Taking Offence