Developing Sensitivity to the Needs of Others

     Conversations with certain people can sometimes go on in different ways. Even if our intentions are good, we might be in danger of hurting someone’s emotions. The best way to develop sensitivity is to express our interests and concern for others, especially when they are having troubles and that we should listen carefully to what they have to say, and keep in mind that we should always speak kindly. Remember to listen without judgement, we should try to take their perspective as they talk, rather than responding from our own point of view. Now, this does not mean that we agree with what the other person is saying. It just means that while the person is talking, we should always keep an open mind.

     It is vital that you have a way to express your emotions, and in order to be sensitive to other people’s emotions you may have to be careful in how you will be approaching the situation. Statements that start with “I” will help you say what you’re feeling without it appearing that you’re blaming them. But, if you are expressing empathy with the other person during the conversation, chances are they will be able to respond to your feelings with empathy as well. Being sensitive to someone’s feelings does not mean that you will be pretending to be someone you are not. However, before you offer your opinion or ideas about another person’s experience, always make sure that the person you are talking to wants your honest opinion. Being able to focus on your feedback with the person’s actions, rather than who they as a person, may help prevent hurt feelings.

     If you are going to be sensitive towards other people’s emotions, the best place to start is to understand yourself and become aware of your own-self. If you are unaware of how you are feeling during a sensitive conversation, you are less likely to be able to respond sensitively to others. Pay attention to concrete signs of your own feelings and learn to recognize the signs of fear, anger, anxiety, and sadness within yourself and with this it will significantly help you empathize towards other people’s feelings.

– Adam Rosser, IST