Can empathy be learned?

November 9, 2019 by TEDxBucharest0

If you were to monitor the actions of a group of people, you would probably notice that some of them tend to be more empathetic than the others. But how do you define empathy? For some people, empathy is a rare personality trait that appears in a few people and is mostly inherited from their ancestors. We don’t necessarily agree with them, because we consider that empathy is something we can all learn to practice, so we can become better human beings with each day that passes by.

The key point of being empathetic is to listen. We live in a world where everything is happening so fast and our attention span is constantly decreasing and, as a result, we do not actively listen that much anymore.  Let’s change this behavior and become more aware of how other people are feeling – put yourself in the shoes of another person and try to truly understand what they are experiencing.

Stay out of judgement, if you really want to be more empathetic. When your friends or close ones are facing problems and want to discuss them with you, they put themselves in a vulnerable position, so you should not take advantage of this. Do not become the almighty judge of their actions. Speaking of vulnerability, Brené Brown has beautifully said that Empathy is a choice, and it’s a vulnerable choice because, in order to connect with you, I have to connect with something in myself that knows that feeling. Some people do not practice empathy because they are scared of reviving their own wounds, but we truly believe that our unfortunate experiences can help others grow. Let’s make an exercise of imagination – if we all practice empathy, can you visualize how the world would look like?

We want to live in that world of empathy that shows up in all conversations, all relationships and all life experiences. How about you? You can share your opinion with us at TEDxBucharest11, on November 16th and 17th.

photography & retouch: Bogdan Mocanu, Oana Bardan -


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