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Is being an empath a weakness or a strength?

Posted on 28/11/2016 by Jessica Holsapple

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We hear it time and time again- we are all different. So why is it so hard for us to have tolerance for one another? This is not an article about politics, race or religious tolerance. This is simply about embracing and understanding that we all work and think differently.

Whether it’s your boss who is constantly on the go, your colleague who likes everything to be status quo, or the loudmouth down the hall who’s always cracking jokes, there’s no avoiding the differences of personalities in the workplace.

I’ve always liked to analyze people, but the last few years I have been fascinated by personality tests such as Myers’ Briggs, Disc, People Styles  (and dozens more). I really enjoy categorizing people’s personality types  to help better understand what drives, motivates and frustrates us. Studying these differences is how I work on developing my emotional intelligence.

Emotional Intelligence is defined as, “the capacity to be aware of, control, and express one's emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically” (Google). Inc.com recently published an article  that stated, “those who lack emotional intelligence will self-destruct long before success is able to flourish.”

As I grow and develop these skills, I try to evaluate difficult situations and determine why someone may have acted in a way that I didn’t agree with. Have they just had a difficult call with a client? Am I making an unfair assumption that someone is not working as hard as me because they seem more relaxed as opposed to my frantic “gotta get it done” style?

You can only control yourself,  but being empathetic to others is what will allow you to improve upon your interpersonal relationships in the office and at home. Next time you think someone is out of line or completely insensitive, try to kill them with kindness and attempt to see things from their perspective. If you remain kindhearted, and understanding it’s unlikely they will maintain that behavior for long.