Day 44 - Practice Empathy

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Empathy is a fundamental building block of a positive relationship, and extending love and caring to others. It is an observable, measurable neural process that reflects a visceral sensation of the feelings and emotions of others. It is a hard-wired firing of mirror neurons that mimic, not just the expression of emotion, but the physical feelings associated with what’s being observed. It is the most fundamental structure of our ability to understand others.

The ability to “put ourselves in someone else’s shoes” is a cornerstone of emotional intelligence. It’s also the trigger for compassion - and research shows it to correspondingly increase measures of self-love and self-worth.

A window into empathy is the knowledge that we all suffer from stress and can be, at times, sad, lonely or depressed. Think of your own suffering (as we all often do), then realize the commonality of that suffering. Think of someone you love and put yourself in their shoes, to see what kinds of troublesome emotions or unpleasant feelings they may have. Then use this insight to trigger feelings of empathy, that can be iterated to strengthen the trait.

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