Discovering Empathy

I found this article on the Guardian website this week and it really got me thinking.


It’s written by someone who rediscovered their empathy for others through a life drawing class. The simple act of trying to draw the shape of someone else’s body, taking notice of the lines on their face, transported the author from thinking about himself to thinking about his subject.


It’s so easy for us to get lost in our own perceptions, to have to fight for our own views so hard than we can forget or actively ignore those of others. Sometimes it’s the simple things that pull us back, that help us find perspective, step outside ourselves for a short while and consider things from other people’s point of view.


Different things will work for different people – the author of that article found his empathy through life drawing, other find it in the lyrics of a good song or by writing a story. All of them help you connect with others from a place of curiosity rather than self-interest.


For me, I love to people watch. I could sit in St Pancras station all day just watching the world go by, taking the time to notice people, how they’re walking, the look on their face, who they are with. My empathy could be misplaced as I imagine what their lives are like and what experiences lie behind and ahead of them.


We’d love to know what works for you – what have you found that helped you discover your capacity for empathy or what do you do to help develop it?