Thursday, February 25, 2016

Can You Teach Empathy?

Empathy is a crucial skill to have in successful relationships. In the article, "Can you teach people to have empathy" by BBC Magazine, the steps to learn empathy are discussed. I think that it is definitely possible to learn empathy. There are many ways to do this that are discussed in the article. Marshall Rosenberg believes that, "What is essential, is our ability to be present to what's really going on within - to the unique feelings and needs a person is experiencing at the very moment". Listening is a building block of empathy. Without it, there is no way to understand what someone is going through. Another good exercise is to be curious of the strangers around you and you might just learn something and gain new perspectives (BBC Magazine, 4). These suggestions seem efficient but I don't believe most people learn through these "methods".

As a child, I remember my parents trying to teach me empathy. If I look back at it, they didn't use that word, but now I realize that it was what they were trying to imply. I didn't discover empathy though chosen methods. I learned it through my parents teaching and just living life. You might see a homeless man in the streets and wonder why he is lying on the sidewalk. It can be confusing as a child but as you grow up, things like this get easier to understand. The way I see people learning empathy is very similar to what John Green believes. He talks about how his 3 year old son obviously doesn't empathize much with him. However, he doesn't see this as a bad thing. He knows that he can assist his son to gain a stronger understanding of empathy as he grows up.