In my first post on empathy (link here) I gave a suggestion for improving your empathy skills. Here we’ll talk about another simple and effective way to improve your empathy listening to the experiences of people who are different to you.
It’s easy to spend all week listening to people who are like you in age, class and life stage. When I say ‘listening’ I’m talking about whichever channels you use, spoken or not. So if you spend a lot of time on twitter or instagram or reading blogs I’d say you are listening to the people you follow or read. Is your twitter feed full of people who look like you, think like you and share the same values as you?
Practise finding spaces where you can listen to people who are not like you. Listen to them describe their experiences without judging. Believe that what they describe feeling is real.
Here are a few suggestions for places to listen. Remember the idea is to listen to experiences which are different to your own.
- Women who have been pregnant in the UK http://pregnantthenscrewed.com/
- US immigrants in their own words: http://myimmigrationstory.com/