Empathy is one of the most important attributes of Global Citizens. Empathy makes us more perceptive to the emotions of others, allowing us to gain a deeper insight into the challenges they face. From the power of listening to the positive uses of social media, here’s how to be more empathetic and a better Global Citizen.
Most people think of listening as an effortless act. And yet, good listening takes practice. To be more empathetic, try to listen to others with an open mind. Set your prejudices aside and just pay attention to what the other person is saying. Don’t interrupt them; allow them to show you what’s on their mind and in their heart. Pay attention to words that express hurt, anger, anxiety, or frustration. Offer assistance if appropriate or just let the other person know that you are there for them.
Not everyone goes around talking about their feelings. Sometimes it takes the gentle nod of a question to get to know more about the people around us. Think of yourself as a reporter of human emotions. Without delving into situations that may be too personal, inquire about the little things that bring happiness, joy, or even frustration to the lives of people you come across. When we learn more about others, our ability to understand the human experience expands, and that’s what empathy is all about.
Use Social Media to Increase Your Empathy
Social media has upended the way we live and communicate, and not always for the better. However, these new platforms have also a positive side that can uplift communities and increase our empathy. Instead of using social media to connect with users with your same background and experiences, take advantage of it to learn more about people who are different from you. This includes people who live in faraway places, but also people from your area. Social and economic differences can create a gap that is more difficult to bridge than even the largest geographical expanses. Empathy helps us build those bridges and fulfill the vision of Global Citizenship: a deep commitment to diversity combined with more fairness and greater mutual understanding.
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