Have you ever heard the expression, “Try walking a mile in their shoes?” This is what it means to have empathy. Empathy is a skill that allows us to understand other people’s thoughts, beliefs, and feelings. Empathy allows us to be aware of the emotions and needs of others so that we can interact with them skillfully. Think of empathy as the bridge that connects ourselves to others and allows us to cross the waters between two people who happen to think differently from one another.
So why is empathy so important for Bullying Prevention? Everyone has unique life experience, which shapes their personality, beliefs, values, and emotions. Without empathy, these key differences between people can lead to misunderstandings, division, and prejudice. Without empathy, bullying becomes too easy. Empathy allows individuals to do the following which help to reduce in incidence of bullying:
- Communicate better with others
- Have more and better quality friendships
- Be a better leader
- Understand the needs and feelings of others
- Deal better with interpersonal conflicts
- Have life success
The bottom line is that lack of empathy leads to poor communication and a failing to understand others. In social situations like the classroom, the playground, and the cafeteria bullying can become a serious issue when people lack empathy. No two people share the same thoughts, emotions or life experiences. These thoughts and experiences play a huge role in how one sees the outside world. Developing empathy in your population is key to overcoming these differences.
In this blog series on Empathy and Bullying Prevention we will discuss some of the key components of practicing and developing empathy. We hope this will be helpful to you as you strive to eliminate bullying from your population. If you would like to get a sneak peek at our Bullying Prevention program click the free trial link below.