Self Improvement in Japan: Engage Others with Authentic Empathy

Treating others with empathy has become a recent trend, We often think that just listening or intellectualizing how people are feeling is enough, but practicing empathy is harder than that. It requires us to consider not only what, but also why others do what they do.

Understand Feelings

The first step of acting with empathy is understanding emotions. Our emotions are strong influencers in our decisions, both to attract and distance intended feelings. To get at the heart of another’s emotions is to have a better understanding of your own as well. 

When communicating with another person, consider initially how you would feel in their situation. Then ask questions to understand how they feel and why. Their perception of the situation and needs will be different from your own, So listen deeply. This will help you understand what she needs and how you can support her. When you understand the underlying cause of their emotions, you will improve your ability to consider the issues from her point of view. 

We always consider the intentions of our own actions, but focus just on the behavior when it comes to others

Consider Preferences, Culture, And Motivations

Beyond the feelings and emotions of others lie their cultural influences, personality, and mitigating circumstances. Understanding these areas takes a lot of patients. We often want to use our own lens to see the world, but thinking about culture (family, local, regional, and/or national) will help us catch the nuances of what is being communicated to us.

We All Act With Good Intentions

A vast majority of us want to see our own actions but focus just on the behavior beneficial contributions to our communities. When someone acts in a way we judge as a counter to this, consider how his solution would be beneficial (even as part of something bigger). This will help you work together to find more viable alternatives in solving bigger challenges. 

We always consider the intentions of our own actions but focus just on the behavior when it comes to others, considering undesirable results as the other person’s deliberate attempt to stir up problems, create conflict or foster ill will with us. That is just not true. Instead, focus on the truth that they had good intentions in when deciding on and taking a course of action. Then work together to discover future steps that lead to mutually beneficial results.

Servant Leadership

In our relationships, if we honestly focus on how we can serve others, and through our service help them do the same in reciprocity we can create positive momentum and a sense of understanding. This enhances our ability to build quality relationships that have a genuine connection and understanding.


 Practicing empathy requires us to slow down, look others in the eye, and consider their situations from their point of view. While being empathetic is harder than it seems on the surface. Developing the skills that allow us to do so will serve not only us but also those we are empathetic towards.

John's Website:

The Effective Communicator

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