To me there is so much more to empathy than just feeling someone's emotions. It means stepping outside of yourself in every situation and asking yourself “how is this decision or action going to affect others?”.
Living from the heart means being able to step outside of yourself and live from a place that is less selfish and more about common courtesy and the “bigger picture”. There is a real epidemic in society where people “want what they want when they want it” without thinking how their actions affect other people.
Here are some ways you can show empathy to others.
1. Be On Time
When you are late to appointments, meeting, or even just getting together with friends, then the other person's life is put on hold and it makes the statement that your time is more important than someone else’s. Always do your best to be on time and respect other people’s time.
2. Consider the Other Person Before Showing Up Uninvited
Before showing up at someone's home uninvited ask yourself: what might this person be doing? Maybe they do not want to be interrupted. Are they reading, watching a movie, sleeping, having a bath, writing. etc? Once again, it’s important to be respectful of other’s time.
3. Be Aware of Other’s Needs
For example, when paying for groceries, you notice that the person behind you is in a rush. Don't spend extra time talking with the cashier, move along efficiently. Notice people around you and be aware of what their needs are.
4. Avoid Cancelling Plans at the Last Minute
Give proper notice if you need to cancel an appointment. Recognize that people have to travel to work and cancelling at the last minute means that someone has wasted time getting somewhere and they could have been able to fill the space with another client. It takes time to plan events and it is crucial to know how many people are attending for catering and other details, so if you RSVP and then don’t show it is making a statement to the host that you don't care about the planning or budget of the event.
These are just a few examples of being mindful of other people. So, next time you make decision or before taking action on something ask yourself “how is this going to affect others?”.