Thursday, May 22, 2014

Chic Habits: Having Empathy

I read recently that having empathy for others makes you a happy person, and I can totally believe it.

I have been putting my ‘empathy’ mantra into practice over the past little while and it has helped me make better decisions.  I then feel good about myself, I am a nicer person and everyone is happy.

Whenever I am in a situation – serving a customer, out in public, driving, whatever, when I think about the other person I think of them with empathy.  Sometimes it is hard and I don’t always get there, but most of the time I see things from their point of view and am happy to give way graciously, sometimes figuratively and sometimes literally.

At the very least I think I come across in a more caring way and that in turn often triggers them to be more thoughtful.  No matter what, I always feel better afterwards.  The few times I’ve thought it was ‘my right’ to do something, even if it was, I’ve had a bad feeling afterwards (and I didn’t like it!). 

Even people I dislike, I can feel for them and therefore feel happier for myself if I think of them with empathy.  I don’t feel good when I think (or say) bad thoughts about someone, but I would think to myself ‘well they’re x’ as if that made my thoughts valid.

Having empathy takes away the bad thoughts and replaces them with better ones, and so I feel positive and happier rather than negative and picky.

Sometimes I might seem to be ‘giving in’ to someone or being ‘too nice’ for my own good, it actually is for my own good.  And it’s not just situations, it’s any time I interact with another human being, I think of them with empathy and all is well.

If you knew me in person you would know I am not the pushover type.  I fight for my rights and sometimes I probably go too far for my own peace of mind.  So cultivating empathy is beneficial for me.

It’s about finding balance in how we live our life and conduct our day to day moments.  When you find something that enhances these it’s like a blessing from above.


  1. Fiona, this is lovely...and true. My family cultivated empathy in me from childhood (almost too much!) and it took me years to find the balance point. I believe it is essential to being fully human...and happy.

  2. Wonderful words and ones which I wish I had read before attending a care conference for my mother this week. There were angry words and recriminations. The end result left a void and lack of trust. And I'm sure their opinion of me was less than stellar. My attitude and inability to see anything their way was unproductive and rude.

  3. Dear Fiona, Empathy is very important but hard to exercise sometimes. I think one should be empathetic to oneself too. We can't always show our good and understanding side, but I do my best! I think I have a harder time being assertive. Sometimes I let people take advantage of me (though not horribly!), and I realize this because I always feel rotten after the fact.

    For me, it's difficult trying to balance being generous and courteous with being assertive at the same time.

  4. Empathy also makes it near impossible to hate anyone. Being able to emphasize requires understanding of the other persons perspective, and when you understand someone, you see their reasoning. You might not agree with everything, but I think it would be very difficult to still hate the person. So when people say that hate is the fear of the unknown, it is directly linked with a lack of empathy. More empathy would truly make the world a better place in my opinion.

  5. I can really relate to the point you made about empathy sometimes feeling like you're 'giving in', when in reality, it's so much better for oneself, let alone everyone else. I think we have too strong a culture of not letting people get over on us. In the end, we all suffer. Thanks for the post/reminder. Amy

  6. Fiona- I know that creating a meaningful post is time-consuming and thought provoking. But I would love to see you post more frequently. Your posts are insightful and enjoyable. Thank you.

  7. Swissy, Kristien, Anonymous, Eizhowa and Amy P, thank you for your wonderful comments. So many wise words.

    Another thing I thought of about having empathy - it cures self-consciousness. When I'm been somewhere where I might once have felt self-conscious, I felt empathy for the people I was interacting with and felt so much more confident and not self-conscious at all.

  8. Delighted to see you doing another 30 days of chic -- I saved your last one, and still refer to it.


Merci for your comment. Wishing you a chic day!

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