Development Tips

Topic of the Month | Being Empathic

“Learning to stand in somebody else’s shoes, to see through their eyes, that’s how peace begins. And it’s up to you to make that happen. Empathy is a quality of character that can change the world.”~Barack Obama

Individuals of each Enneagram type can enhance their ability to be more empathic; here are some of the ways:

Consider and stay with both your own and other people’s feelings in depth in order to develop both more empathy and increased compassion.

Examine your deeper motivations for needing to know exactly what others are thinking and feeling so you can better separate your need to know from what others are actually experiencing.

Spend time exploring your real feelings in-depth, even if you feel uncomfortable or impatient. Knowing how you truly feel will help you be more sensitive to the emotional states of others.

Re-examine your perceptions of what others are feeling and explore your own feelings as well. This can help you to not project your own feelings onto other people.

Learn to feel your own emotions in real-time, not after the fact. This will enable you to be more empathic with yourself and to read other people’s feelings more accurately.

Remain empathic even when someone’s behavior bothers, hurts, angers or scares you.

Examine your feelings and stay with them; reading your internal somatic cues can help. This will enable you to read others’ emotions better.

Take the time to get a felt-sense of the feelings of others and do this with family, friends, co-workers, strangers and even with people you don’t respect.

Make sure to maintain your empathy, even with people who are negative, pushy, aggressive or complaining.

Ginger Lapid-Bogda PhD, the author of seven best-selling Enneagram-business books, is a speaker, consultant, trainer, and coach. She provides certification programs for professionals around the world who want to bring the Enneagram into organizations with high-impact business applications and is past-president of the International Enneagram Association. Visit her website: |