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Empathy refers to the ability to put yourself in someone else’s shoes and understand how he or she feels. Those who display empathy can help others feel and perform their best. They can also become key contributors within their communities.
Anyone can use empathy in their community for the greater good. Doing so, however, requires hard work and patience. But with the right approach, you can discover what it takes to understand and share the feelings of others in your community. And you can use your empathy to help community members thrive.
Lay the Foundation for Empathy in Your Community
To foster empathy in your community, lead by example. Everyone has the natural capacity for empathy. If you display empathy in your everyday actions, you can encourage others to do the same.
Some of the best things you can do to promote empathy include:
- Reject Stereotypes: Accept community members for who they are and value and respect cultural differences.
- Be an Active Listener: Engage with community members, listen to them communicate both verbally and through their actions, and respond appropriately.
- Manage Your Feelings: Explore ways to cope with sadness, anger, and other difficult feelings. As you find safe and healthy ways to manage these feelings, you can help community members do the same.
An empathetic leader can be a difference-maker in their community. This leader’s actions can speak volumes and resonate across community members. Thus, if you do your part to practice empathy, you can become a community leader. Over time, you can do your part to make your community a great place for you and all other members.
Make Your Community the Best It Can Be
Empathy can have far-flung effects in your community. Here are things you can do to use empathy for the greater good in your community:
- Celebrate Your Community: Be inclusive and willing to listen to what all community members have to say. This shows every community member that he or she has a voice and that it deserves to be heard.
- Organize Community Events: Host block parties and other fun events that encourage community members to come together and get to know one another. Also, set up safety events designed to teach community members how to prevent crime. You may even want to schedule volunteer events, so community members can work with one another to support a great cause.
- Learn from Your Community: Partner with community members and learn from them. Gather feedback, thoughts, and opinions from community members and find out how they feel about empathy in your community. As you gain a wide range of insights, you can discover the best ways to improve your community.
Empathy can transform all types of communities, too. Use empathy at home, school, and other communities. From here, you can show empathy in every community — and encourage others to do the same.
Use Empathy to Make Introverted Community Members Feel Safe
You feel great about your community and all it has to offer, but an extra step you can take is making sure your most introverted community members feel safe and looked out for. Many community-based initiatives cater to more extroverted members who are already speaking out or seeking solutions to their needs and concerns. More introverted members may rely on those in their community who can put themselves in their shoes.
Understanding the difference between safe and comfortable can offer an excellent starting point for those who want to use empathy in their communities. This understanding can help you fine-tune your approach to empathy. From here, you can determine the best course of action to use empathy to support community members who might not be as inclined to reach out for connection and to voice their concerns where they don’t feel safe.
Anticipating what the more introverted members of your community need will lead to greater overall community satisfaction. Focusing on genuine safety allows community members to embrace vulnerability and personal preference. It can help community members feel confident in reaching out to neighbors if they feel inclined, or help more withdrawn members know they are supported and looked out for in their own homes.
Promote Empathy in Your Community Day After Day
If you are interested in empathy in your community, you may succeed as a social worker. You can pursue a degree in social work and complete coursework that teaches you about myriad aspects of empathy. Furthermore, you can build your empathy skill set, to the point where you can promote empathy in any community.
With empathy, inclusion and acceptance can reign supreme. Empathetic leaders display empathy, and others want to follow in their footsteps. If you practice empathy regularly, you can inspire and motivate others to do the same. The result: you can build an empathetic community where all members want to do their part to support one another.
Make empathy a priority in your community. Maintain a consistent approach as you hone your empathetic approach as well.
By doing your part, you can use empathy to enhance your community and support the greater good. And in the months and years to come, your community can thrive.
This is a guest post from Luke Smith. Luke is a writer and researcher turned blogger. Since finishing college he is trying his hand at being a freelance writer. He enjoys writing on a variety of topics but relationship topics are his favorite. When he isn’t writing you can find him traveling, hiking, or gaming.