getting InTouch with Inside Awareness for Healthy Lifestyles
Personal Steps to Empathy
Techniques transforming “doing” into “being” with others and self
- Pause take a breath and make a choice to either “be” in empathy by simply being a reflection back to the speaker, or to “do” conversation. (This is being attached to what you are thinking as the other person is sharing.) Making a choice may give you conscious recognition of how you are listening to the speaker throughout the sharing.
- If you choose to “be” in empathy remind yourself that responding to an urge to tell them something is not empathic listening. This is not going to be “about what you think.” It is about “hearing what is going on for the speaker” and being present to mirror back what you are hearing from them.
- Notice your posture and placement of your feet. If you are sitting, bring your feet flat to the floor directly under your knees hip width apart. If standing, notice if your legs are hip width apart and bring your attention to your feet for a moment. How are you sensing them? Simply shift your weight first from one foot to another a few times and notice if you begin to feel more sensation. Shift your weight forward and back a few times and then notice the sensations.
- Now take your focus of attention from your forehead area back into your head towards the centre of your brain. Consciously bring it down to the centre of your torso behind your sternum. Notice when your attention strays away from this area and bring yourself back. Notice the sensations.
- Separate your teeth. Let your lower jaw hang down ever so slightly separating your upper and lower sets of teeth and place your tongue on the floor of your mouth, if you can, letting it’s weight remind you to keep your lower jaw soft.
- Begin to practice softening your eyes while making gentle eye contact.
- Practice keeping your attention in the area between your lungs and hearing what the speaker is saying. Notice if the quality of how you are receiving their words is calmer and more reflective.
- If you use “words,” begin by matching the energy of the person speaking and only reflect back what they are saying. Trying to use as many of their words as possible. Pay attention to their response and notice if they are becoming softer and calmer.
- If you choose to name what you are sensing their feelings and needs to be, pay attention to their response. If they are shifting away from being soft and receptive switch back into simple reflection. Drop your attachment to naming the feelings and needs. If they stay receptive to hearing you name the feelings and needs, pay attention to where your focus has shifted to. Are you still able to stay with your attention in your chest area or has it shifted to the front part of forehead area? If your focus is in your forehead it is no longer empathic listening and you have shifted into it being about you.
- When you feel that they have become quiet, check to see if there is something more they want to share or ask them if they have something they are wanting from you, of themselves or from someone else in this moment.
REMEMBER EMPATHIC LISTENING IS:
A flow of energy described as compassionate between you and another. Being present and having contentment in the moment. Having no experience of being in agreement or disagreement with what you’re hearing.
Renee Lindstrom, GCFP – firstname.lastname@example.org
Download PDF – Personal Empathic Connection Steps