People may not care to seek your sympathy but would definitely appreciate your sense of empathy. This is true from family to work environment.
It is good to be sympathetic but being empathetic requires one to have a balanced approach. So how do we go about it?
In this world of impatience we tend to react more often than analysing the situation and doing the needful.
Today, however, empathy is being looked upon as a skill and is one of the five components of emotional intelligence. It is also a trait, agree experts while defining it as an important element of interpersonal communication, which can be developed.
On the other hand, lot of times we tend to do this — when someone is actually being or looking out for some sympathy or ears to hear them out, we tend to bring in logic and this is where men and women tend to clash.
This is why it was great to have it as a topic on GreenMent, Oman Observer’s weekly podcast on mental health. Dr Hamed al Sinawi, Senior Psychiatrist, said it is the ability to put oneself in other’s shoes.
Dr Hamed says women are better in acknowledging the feelings and giving that comfort of encouraging the other person to speak more. He said it is important to acknowledge people’s feeling as people have different difficulties - physical or psychological.
But could there be a chance for people to take advantage of someone’s empathetic approach in life and work. Quite often administrators might face this dilemma, which is why it would be nice if everyone practiced empathy.
Empathy is not a weakness, instead it is being looked upon as a leadership quality.
Empathy is definitely a much needed trait and quality in healthcare workers, but it would also be nice if others understood the situations the staff go through.
They have to handle emotional situations without being too involved, Dr Hamed had explained in the podcast.
Social media has played a significant role in making people less empathetic because they are able to say what they want without the difficulty of seeing the hurt people go through due to their words and actions.
Then again there is the generation issue.
Dr Hamed pointed out that some studies said that as doctors aged few of them could be less empathetic because of all the difficulties they have seen through the years.
It could be a good thing too in certain situations as in the case of doctors who work in trauma centres — where one needs to take action instead of being emotional.
What about the corporate world?
Empathy helps one to develop good social relationships, as well as social skills with people, besides people are now more aware of mental health well being at work, whatever the field of work.
This is how the senior psychiatrist puts it - a good leader or a good manager empathise with staff and team members and acknowledges if anyone of them is going through a hard time.
Most important part is to express empathy up to the right point.
You can listen to mental health podcast, GreenMent @omanobserver_podcast.