At a foundational level, accurate empathy in my mind involves recognising and understanding 3 major components that characterise it.
These 3 components comprise of 🟪 cognition (thoughts), 💜affect (emotion) and 🟣perception (feelings).
Perception speaks to feeling through your senses. This is intangible but it is real.
For example; we can feel the effects of the wind but we can't see it, though none of us are in any doubt that it exists.
Like the invisible pull of a magnetic force for example, when you feel connected and drawn to another person.
Perception however is only part of the equation; if too much weight is placed on perception we are likely to empathise inaccurately because we have neglected the other components.
All 3 components need to be attended to in order to reach a place of optimal balance; and that's when you will be able to find that your empathising will be most influential.
If you are able to train yourself to be sensitive to the relative 'weight' of each component, moment to moment your empathic skill will soar and your ability to influence other people will be formidable.
Think of times when you have been in sync with another person, your best friend for example; there’s optimal blending of cognitive, affective and perception components right?
You know that sense of being able to ‘get each other’? ✔ You can’t see it happening but you can sense and feel it. The connection 💥
Many of us would have felt the painful sense of of being misunderstood or the pang of invalidation when we want a friend or family member to ‘get’ us but they can't seem to 'get it'.
By appreciating these components actively in play moment by moment you'll decrease the likelihood of invalidating someone and significantly increase your ability to connect effectively.
Sometimes kids have a hard time talking to you about things when they need the most help. Learn to use emotional intelligence and empathic connection to gain co-operation without the friction.