Turn on the DSLR. How to learn to feel others?

In 1992, Italian neurophysiologist Giacomo Rizzolatti discovered “mirror” neurons. These are special brain cells that are activated when we monitor the actions of other people. They allow us to “mirror” the actions of others in our heads and feel as if we had committed them ourselves. These cages are what make action movie fans clench their fists when they watch a fight on screen, and they are what make spectators jump in their seats during football matches.

Later it turned out that in addition to motor mirror neurons (or action neurons), there are also emotional mirror neurons that cause what experts call empathy - the ability to empathize.

It is believed that humanity has managed to survive largely thanks to empathy. Evolutionarily, such a mechanism is necessary in order to instantly, without further ado, understand relatives in moments of danger. Common emotions also united people and helped them work together. And joint work, as we know, is much more effective than solo work.

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Together against crises

Empathy is still necessary today, when people do not need to run after mammoths and defend their homes from attacks by foreigners.

“It is known that in any crisis, it is not the strongest who survive, but those who managed to unite and create a team of like-minded people,” says Dmitry Shamenkov, director of the Center for Information and Social Technologies in Medicine at Sechenov University. — Not to mention the fact that a person’s health and quality of life depend on the quality of relationships with the people around us.

It is vital for people to have strong social connections, which are expressed through love, care, friendship, and empathy. It is these skills and feelings that help us survive and cope with life's difficulties. If you are open, ready to sincerely express your feelings and accept the thoughts and feelings of other people, you are not afraid of any crisis.

In order to build and maintain relationships, it is necessary to develop empathy.

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How to evoke positive feelings in other people?

The first element in building relationships between people is the recognition of the simple fact that each person carries a certain meaning for others. The question is: “What do you want to mean to others?” You would most likely want to be associated with something positive for others.

Then you should check how people react to you. Pay attention to the other person's reaction when you, for example, enter the room to say hello, especially if your visit was a complete surprise to him. How does this person react to your appearance? Does his eyes light up with joy and enthusiasm? What do you see: a smile or a frown, or maybe fear and confusion? Observation results are a good test of what you mean to that person before you even start a conversation.

People always feel how you feel about them. They will not be interested in you and your knowledge until they feel that you are interested in them. At the subconscious level, you act as a transmitter that tells others what mood you are in: happy or sad, whether you feel like a winner or whether your sense of self-esteem has dropped below zero! A successful person must exude strength, confidence and optimism.

It is unlikely that you will be able to convey your enthusiasm to other people if you yourself are in a bad mood. Let us formulate the most important rule: in any communication there must be a correspondence between what you say and what you feel.

  • If your message is to be interesting, you must be interesting.
  • If your message must be dynamic, you must be dynamic.

As the conveyor of the message, you must be healthy, energetic, and have personal charm. Anything cold or unwelcoming about you will be perceived as unwelcoming in your message.

People like to feel good and want to be surrounded by people who feel good about themselves. You've probably met people who fascinated you. Those who know how to make a favorable impression are said to be attractive. What is an attractive personality? This is a person who attracts, attracts, that is, has personal magnetism. This is a special kind of charm that a person possesses and which he can transfer directly to his environment.

It is well known that if you strike a bell in a bell tower and make it sound, then other bells will sound in the same key. You can only awaken in others what is within you. The key to the people around you lies within yourself.

This is especially important when you are dealing with people who are endlessly tired of the daily satisfaction of often trivial needs, who tend to close the doors of their minds to reasonable arguments, even to what is completely obvious. But the doors of subconscious perception, instincts and emotions are not so easy to close.

You want your reasonable argument to be received intelligently. You want your listeners to be satisfied that they can intelligently consider and accept what you want to convey to them.

But this can only be intelligently accepted when you are truly listened to and heard, looked at and seen.

How can you ensure that you are heard and seen?

Only by appealing with your emotions, feelings, subconscious, together with your rational mind and physical presence - as a person as a whole - to your listener as a person as a whole: mind to mind, feelings to feelings, physical presence to physical presence.

Let's start with what you sound like. Your voice and your speech are completely unique to your personality. It is your sound, the way you pronounce words that makes a special impression on others. Your voice is more expressive than a musical instrument. It occurs inside your body and does not exist in isolation from it. The voice and body function together and support each other. Your voice is the rails along which your thoughts reach the consciousness and subconscious of others. Words live in vibrations of sounds. In this way their meaning is awakened and we speak of the inspiring power of words.

Let us immediately note that the ability to listen is no less a powerful tool of influence than the ability to speak. Each of us has only one mouth, but two ears. And yet, many people talk much more than they listen. There is one way you can become such a good listener that you will attract people to you: show genuine interest in the person you are talking to. When you truly listen to a person, you give him such a valuable thing as respect.

What the lips hide, the hands reveal. Your hands are the finest instruments of energy influence. Even the way you shake your partner's hand is an important part of your personality and greatly influences the impression you make. How wary we become of a limp handshake! Just as a person’s voice is individual, so are the movements of his hands. They can be soft, strong, tough, decisive, indifferent or full of feelings. The art of shaking hands can be cultivated. When you greet someone, put something in your handshake that will make the person feel that you are sincerely glad to see them.

Now let's talk about the look. Your eyes are windows in and out. The whole human body can radiate calm and anxiety, but this radiation is especially intense through the eyes.

The eyes are called the mirror of the soul because they directly and immediately reflect the energetic processes of the body. When a person is energetically charged, his eyes shine, and this is a good sign of a healthy state. Any suppression of a person's energy level dims the sparkle in the eyes. The intensity of expression and its quality can be determined by the eyes. Some people's eyes sparkle with excitement, while others' eyes are dull and often empty. Of course, the expression of the eyes changes, but we are talking about typical expression. Eyes can be boring and angry, cold and heavy, or soft and attractive. A blank look gives the impression that “no one is here.” Looking into such eyes, a person gets the impression of inner emptiness. Eye contact is one of the strongest and most intimate forms of relationships between two people. It involves communicating feelings on a deeper level than verbal communication because eye contact is a form of touch. For this reason, it can be very exciting. Many people avoid eye contact because they are afraid of what their eyes might say.

We tend to trust those who do not avoid our gaze. But it’s not enough to just look into the eyes of your interlocutor, you need to do it with interest. Everyone has the unfortunate experience of communicating with those who often only pretend to listen. Yes, the person may be sitting directly opposite you, nodding his head in understanding, but his gaze is directed past you towards the door or somewhere else. Despite gestures and verbal reassurances, his eyes say, “I’m not interested,” and then we lose the desire to continue the conversation.

So if you want to interest someone, look him or her straight in the eye and try not to lose that contact to keep the other person interested.

When famous conductors work, they first tune the entire orchestra, and only when the purity of the sound of the main chords has been achieved, they begin the concert. Likewise, you must constantly tune yourself. Anyone who loses his own positive radiation also loses the power of influence on others. By realizing the significance of this influence in everyday life and paying the necessary attention to it, you will be able to turn misfortune into happiness, chance into chance.

Thus, the strategy for attracting and evoking good feelings in people is very simple:

  1. determine what emotional state and feelings you want to be associated with;
  2. then become an example of this state and behave in such a way as to awaken the same state in others.

When talking to another person, constantly review in your mind the most attractive, persuasive and useful points that you would like to convey to people's attention. In your imagination, “see” them as you would like people to see them. Don't be alarmed if what you "see" now seems too exaggerated or significant. You need to work with your emotional nature in order to reach the emotional nature of other people, and this is not at all the same as working with the rational mind.

Usually people want to work and communicate with those who are confident in themselves. The more you believe in yourself, the more others believe in you. Then you will be sincere in your statements, and it will work, because the more sincere you believe in yourself, the more people trust you.

Sincerity in communication is necessary, because if you are insincere in something, your subconscious mind will signal this in the form of bodily behavior. The results of many studies show how important the coincidence of verbal and physical is. Even a small child can learn to lie using words. But it is much more difficult for him to control bodily behavior; the truth almost always comes out. This is why most of us are more inclined to trust bodily information than verbal information if they do not match. If you want to achieve the desired result when conveying information, let your verbal information be expressed in your facial expressions and tone of voice. Therefore, always be sincere, then there will be no inconsistencies in your behavior and your information will be received with complete confidence.

Your personal magnetism is expressed primarily through your voice, eyes, hands, and facial expressions—the primary means of communicating with others. The way you use them determines the behavior that is unique to you. Since no one can see what's in your head, people perceive you through your behavior. You can organize and direct it in such a way that it will help you achieve any desired goal.

Oleg Igorevich Zhdanov, Doctor of Psychology, Doctor of Medical Sciences, Professor of the Russian Academy of Public Administration under the President of the Russian Federation Article provided by the site "Elitarium: Center for Distance Education"

How to develop empathy?

1. Turn on interest . In the modern world, most people forcibly turn off the feeling of compassion and consciously live under the slogan “it’s not my problem.” As soon as a person abandons this attitude, the problem disappears.

2. Learn to understand yourself . Emotional intelligence is based on three pillars - self-regulation, the ability to hear and put oneself in another’s place, and the ability to manage one’s mood. A person who does not listen to his emotions and whose passions are raging is unlikely to understand and feel others.

3. Listen to what they tell you. We live within our own clichés and prejudices. When starting a conversation, we know in advance what the interlocutor will tell us. Change tactics - let your interlocutor speak for himself, do not prompt him with words, do not direct his train of thoughts. This will help the person open up, and you will understand him and learn a lot of new things.

4. Look for the best. A win-win option for successful negotiations is to feel sympathy for your interlocutor in advance and come to a meeting with him with this feeling.

5. Don't miss emotional cues. When listening to a person, follow his emotions and let him know that you understand them and feel the same. In most cases, a person does not need specific help, but understanding and sympathy.

How to use emotions to achieve your goals? More details

Through observing other people's nonverbal cues

Verbal communication includes words and texts that we communicate to each other, and everything else - facial expressions, postures, position occupied in space relative to other people and objects, appearance, as well as intonation, speed, voice volume, features of articulation and diction - refers to non-verbal signals.

Emotions live in the body, and, accordingly, they manifest themselves in the body, and sometimes in defiance of the owner. By observing other people's nonverbal signals, you can make assumptions about their emotional state. At the same time, it is impossible to interpret a single gesture, but it is necessary to consider all non-verbal behavior as a whole.

To develop the skill of understanding the emotions of others, using this method, you can turn on the TV and turn off the sound. Find a feature film and watch it for a while, observing the characters’ gestures, facial expressions, and spatial placement, and wondering what emotions they are experiencing right now. A similar process can be done in public transport. Watch the passengers. How do these people feel? If someone tells someone something, is it a funny story or a sad one?

What if it's a disease?

Are there people who are mentally deaf and insensitive to the emotions of those around them? Yes, and this is always a sign of serious pathology. A person is practically unable to understand others after a hemorrhage on the left side of the brain (stroke). Neural connections are damaged in some genetic and mental illnesses, as well as in autism spectrum disorders (ASD). The symptoms of these disorders are known to vary widely (from mild to severe). Some people with ASD often look completely healthy and are considered mossy egoists. Although in fact they are simply not able to “read” the emotions of others.

Today, neurologists consider the cruelty and rigidity of people aged 50+ as an early symptom of Alzheimer's disease. It is believed that normally, with each passing year, a person becomes softer and kinder. After all, everyone has to wear many “skins” in their life, so with age we begin to treat the weaknesses of others with understanding and condescension. If over the years a person becomes fixated on himself, begins to talk only about his own problems and illnesses and ceases to be interested in the concerns of his neighbors, this is a very alarming sign. The evil old woman from Pushkin’s fairy tale did not need a new trough, but the help of a specialist.

Pros and cons of empathy

Like any phenomenon, empathy can be beneficial or harmful to a person. So, what are the pros and cons of the ability to empathize?


  • thanks to the ability to understand others, a person can become a good specialist in any field of activity related to people;
  • the ability to think outside the box and find original solutions;
  • the ability to provide support and help to others;
  • the ability to recognize lies and insincerity;
  • the ability to effectively resolve or avoid conflicts.


  • inability to show healthy aggression when necessary;
  • emotional burnout;
  • constant worry about other people's problems;
  • tendency to mental disorders;
  • other people may begin to take advantage of the person's kindness;
  • increased anxiety and vulnerability.
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