If you’re looking to have more empathy, but you’re struggling with it, I believe there are three barriers you need to overcome.
Barrier 1: The Need to Be Right
You’ve figured out that by having empathy, you can learn what other people’s needs are, and you realize that by understanding other people’s needs, you can start figuring out how to enroll them in your ideas.
However, there lies difficulty in understanding that the other party is correct (given their own worldview) AND being able to give up the need to be right.
We talk about “losing” and “winning” arguments. We only can actually succeed at enrollment if we get over this binary idea of who is right and wrong. We need to embrace the understanding that getting what we want relies on being able to judo-flip the idea of being right.
Often, we need to show (vs. just saying) we understand the other person by acknowledging their truth. As painful at it may be, to succeed at actually getting someone to listen to you, you’re going to have to affirm (at the very least) their feelings are valid and correct without making judgments about them.
Then, we can start to dissolve the feeling of needing to be right, and we can really start getting to work.