Tapping Into The Superpower Of Empathy 

Empathy is the practice of giving and caring with intention. It’s a superpower that’s within everyone’s reach. All of us can learn to be more empathetic — its genius is highly attainable.

Showing empathy for yourself or receiving it from others can make going through a health or emotional challenge easier. It lightens the load. Empathy takes the bite off pain, heals conflicts, soothes anxiety, brings mercy to depression, and lets you know you’re not alone. Whether you’re on the giving or receiving end, empathy is a healing act. It brings lovingkindness to healing whether it manifests in small or large ways.

The analytic mind, despite its virtues, is limited when it comes to the depth of healing and calm we can all find. Empathy connects us to the part that doesn’t need to force solutions or listen to the monkey mind’s incessant chatter. Such exhausting mental tumult won’t get us anywhere but stuck. Empathy is the antidote to the frantic state of over-thinking and chronic worry. Connecting with our heart is an energy shifter that helps heal pain.

The highest form of knowledge is empathy because it requires us to suspend our egos and live in another’s world. It’s similar to tuning a musical instrument to its purest tone, frequency, and pitch. We reach for our most admirable kindness within. Practicing empathy can recalibrate our path toward healthier ways of behaving and perceiving the world. It’s a game-changer. We learn to live in a more spacious, heartfelt part of ourselves where we can see every situation from the most compassionate, big-picture place.

Practice these skills to hone your empathy superpower:

1. Relinquish The Need To Always Be Right

Recognize empathy’s inner opponents of fear, pride, and ego so that you can tame them. While you may disagree with someone, consciously choose to be flexible. You can respond with, “I see what you’re saying” to affirm their point of view rather than quibbling over opposing opinions. This is very different than people-pleasing or being untrue to your values. Needing to be right is a roadblock to your heart.

2. Let Go Of Grudges

Each day you may come up against disturbing behaviors by others. It may be a snarky comment from a friend, an unappreciative family member, or a rude coworker. These can leave you feeling frustrated, anxious, or stressed. This is where empathy for others is tricky. But by tapping into the genius of empathy, you attune to another’s wavelength and resonate with it. In showing even a small bit of empathy for the emotional deficiencies (not the inexcusable behavior) of someone who hurt you, something positive happens. By releasing your judgment and resentment, you connect to the larger, freer you. Instead of carrying a grudge, you’re able to focus on happier, more uplifting thoughts.

3. Practice The Sacred Pause

Get in the habit of pausing when you’re agitated so you can respond from your best self. If you feel upset, take a few moments to stop and calm down. Don’t react impulsively or say something you’ll regret. Take a few deep breaths to ease into the pause and center yourself. Tell yourself, “Everything will be okay. I can handle this.” The sacred pause provides a moment to regroup, show yourself kindness, and shift from your small self to your large, empathic self.

4. Set Boundaries

Empathy can become problematic if you’re not practicing self-care and limit-setting techniques. While empathy is about connecting to someone’s emotions and perspectives, healthy empathy involves discernment — checking in with your intuition and energy level. You can be attuned to someone’s struggle without taking on their discomfort. Protect yourself from burnout and empathy fatigue where you’re left with nothing to give to others or yourself.

Empathy is the superpower that leads us out of misunderstanding and hate. One act of empathy can stimulate another, then another — expanding outward to create beneficial change. But you must learn to initiate it.

Sign up here for Dr. Orloff’s online webinar about empathetic healing techniques based on The Genius of Empathy on April 20, 2024, 11am-1pm PST.

This article is Adapted from Dr. Orloff’s book, THe Genuis of Empathy, with Foreword by the Dalai Lama

Author Bio

Judith Orloff, MD, is author of the new book, The Genius of Empathy: Practical Skills to Heal Your Sensitive Self, Your Relationships, and the World with Foreword by the Dalai Lama (Sounds True, April 9, 2024). Dr. Orloff is a member of the UCLA Psychiatric Clinical Faculty and a New York Times bestselling author. She’s a leading voice in the fields of medicine, psychiatry, empathy, and intuitive development.

Her work has been featured on CNN, NPR, Talks at Google, TEDx, and the American Psychiatric Association. She has also appeared in USA Today; O, The Oprah Magazine; Scientific American; and The New England Journal of Medicine. She specializes in treating highly sensitive people in her private practice. Learn more at The Genius of Empathy: Practical Skills to Heal Your Sensitive Self (drjudithorloff.com).com. Sign up here for Dr. Orloff’s online webinar about empathetic healing techniques based on The Genius of Empathy on April 20, 2024, 11am-1pm PST.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *