Practice, Practice, Practice
You don’t need to wait until you’re triggered, upset, or angry to practice self-empathy or silent empathy. The more you practice, the more natural and automatic empathy will feel, so take advantage of the many opportunities that the workplace offers:
(1) Meetings – Use silent empathy to translate your coworker’s comments into feelings and needs.
(2) Your commute – If you find yourself triggered on your morning or evening commute, take a deep breath. Use self-empathy to connect to your feelings and needs. Use silent empathy to connect to the needs of your fellow commuters, with emphasis on those drivers who may have just triggered you.
(3) Email – Before shooting off a reactive email to a colleague, write a practice email using your NVC self-empathy training wheels — noting your own observations, feelings, and needs in response to your colleague’s behavior. Now, write another practice email using silent empathy, guessing what needs were met for your colleague by their behavior. Be sure to end with a request, even something like, “Is that true for you, or do I get it?”
Mindful Practice for the Week
This week, commit to practice silent empathy and self-empathy interchangeably, noticing any shifts you experience in your body language, physical presence, and intention as a result.