Assuming is the enemy of empathy

Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another person. It’s getting on their level and seeing the world as they see it. Assuming is supposing that something is the case without any proof. With empathy, you see through another person’s eyes, in assuming you see through your own. With empathy, you put yourself in someone’s place, in assuming you put them in your place.

When you are engaging with someone, there are two realities happening, theirs and yours. The only way to understand the fullness of reality is to understand both. The only way to understand both is to have empathy, not assuming that you fully know or understand the other person’s point of view, but rather seeking to understand it.

If you are interested in increasing in empathy, the phrase “what do you mean by that?” will be your best friend.