SELF-CARE – THE FIRST STEP TO EMPATHY
Start with yourself – if empathy is about understanding others and showing understanding and compassion then this has to start with being able to do this to yourself. It’s a bit like when they tell you on a plane to put your oxygen mask on BEFORE you help your child with theirs. Unless we are able to look after ourselves we will not have the energy, resources or effort that is needed when it comes others. Looking after yourself first also increases your own self-awareness – crucial for using empathy with people you may find annoying or difficult.
So why not start with self-care?
The first step of self-care is to pay attention to yourself and whether you are getting what you need physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually – just on a day-to-day level. Quite simply you could start with a list – things that contribute to you feeling bad and things that help you to feel great and grounded. This is also important, not least because our levels of empathy aren’t necessarily fixed for all situations and right across our lives. Your ability to empathise is compromised when you are under stress, tired or just not looking after yourself.
Take a look at our self-care infographic to inspire you to create your own.