8 signs you’re dealing with a person who values empathy over ego

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We all care about ourselves and want to succeed. 

But empathy is the willingness to also stand in somebody else’s shoes and understand their experiences and struggles. 

Sometimes this requires letting our own desires and ego relax a bit so we can take the time and attention to truly care about somebody else. 

Here are the top indicators that you’re dealing with somebody who cares more about understanding and solidarity than their own ego. 

1) They actually care how you’re doing

Empathetic people actually care how you’re doing. 

They ask if you’re OK and they listen if you’re not. 

This is a really crucial issue, since those who put ego first can end up letting you down at the worst possible time. 

When you’ve been counting on your friend to 

But those who actually care how you’re doing aren’t going to leave you in the lurch. 

They will do what they said they would do and care for real about how you’re doing and what’s going on in your life. 

And if they can’t make a commitment they’re going to let you know why and do their best to make up for it. 

2) They practice active listening 

Active listening is all about hearing what somebody’s saying as well as why they’re saying. 

People who value empathy more than ego engage in this as their go-to response when somebody speaks. 

This doesn’t mean they always agree or never say something back, but it does mean they do others the respect of hearing them out. 

The empathetic individual is willing to listen to what another person says and not interrupt right away, even if they feel this person is being unreasonable or is off track in some way. 

By contrast, an ego-driven individual is much more likely to refuse to listen or jump in right away during a conversation in order to steer it to get to the kind of outcome they want. 

Active listening is definitely a key component of a person who’s willing to be empathetic instead of just trying to control conversations. 

3) They avoid judging as much as possible 

There are times when it’s necessary to judge.

But an emotionally intelligent and empathetic person does their best to save judging others as a last resort. 

They try to listen and truly care about others, but it’s not just in order to be “nice.”

It’s actually for clarity:

When we judge we jump straight to easy categorization and moral censure. We assure ourselves somebody is “good,” “bad,” “weird” or “smart.”

Then we start to lose our perceptiveness because we see everything through this lens and label we’ve attached. 

It’s not simply that judging is “unfair,” it’s that it’s limiting. When we judge we block out other potential insights about somebody that we may fail to notice if we’ve already slotted them merely as a “type.” 

Empathetic people try not to jump to judging because they want to actually perceive what’s happening and have a real outlook on somebody. 

4) They do their best to understand foreign experiences 

When we’re relying on ego, being presented with a strange or unusual experience often leads to rejecting it right away. 

But somebody operating out of empathy will do their best to keep an open mind

They will try their best to understand and listen to people who they don’t normally cross paths with…

They will let friends introduce them to cinema they find bizarre or silly but try to see what it is that their friends find so interesting or remarkable about it… 

The ego may say “screw this stuff!”

But the empathetic side rules out and says “let’s give it a bit of a chance and chill, since it seems so important to somebody I care about.” 

If the empathetic person ends up still not liking the person, place or material they’ve given a chance, so be it. 

But they’re willing to practice some patience and keep an open mind as much as possible even in things which are new to them or unfamiliar and strange. 

5) They’re honest about what they haven’t lived 

The person being run by ego can sometimes come across as empathetic by having over-the-top sympathy and compassion. 

But this isn’t real empathy, it’s actually a form of ego. 

Somebody who always claims to have “been there” and get what you’re saying is usually lying. They just can’t be humble enough to admit they don’t know. 

The person who’s genuinely driven more by empathy than ego is willing to admit what he or she hasn’t lived before. 

They will do their best to understand others even if they haven’t walked in that person’s shoes before. 

Because sometimes admitting that they don’t actually understand is more genuine than claiming that it’s all so old hat to them. 

6) They genuinely want to serve and help others 

Empathetic people really want to be of service to others. 

Those with ego want to show how much they want to be of service to others and post it all over Instagram and every other possible place. 

There’s a big difference. 

7) They find it impossible to ignore suffering 

This is one of the qualities of an empathetic person that can also backfire in some cases. 

Because their ego is taking a backseat, the power of being touched and feeling the suffering of others can have a very strong influence. 

Empathetic folks find it impossible to turn a blind eye to suffering. 

This can mean that they sometimes get hauled in by deceptive frauds and other situations. 

On the other hand it also means that these empathetic people are the ones who move humanity forward on key issues that need to be addressed. 

8) They are willing to make peace over getting their way 

When somebody has more empathy than ego, they are willing to compromise if it can mean avoiding an unnecessary fight. 

They’d rather make peace than let their ego determine how things go. 

If this means not pressing a point where you’re sure you’re right, then so be it.

If it means letting sleeping dogs lie in terms of a friend who upset you and still doesn’t seem to understand why, so be it.

Sometimes you really do just have to let things go. 

Knowing when to say no

We all like empathetic people, but this is also a matter of proportionality (which I’ll discuss more in the next point). 

Overly empathetic people can become so self-effacing that they end up starting to lose the respect of others. 

The key for every empathetic person is to ensure they’re really hearing and responding to those around them while also knowing when to say no. 

Being empathetic doesn’t mean that a person has to agree with everything said to him or her, nor does it mean they always have to plaster on a smile. 

There’s a way to follow your own interests without being selfish or shortsighted about it and still taking the needs and requests of others into account. 

Empathy and ego: Do they ever go together? 

Empathy and ego are always a balance. 

If somebody was only empathetic to the point of ignoring their own interests it would actually be counterproductive and harmful. 

We all need to care for ourselves and look after our basic needs before we can help and give to others. 

But too much ego and “me-first” mentality can definitely block empathy and the potential of connecting constructively with others. 

The best approach is to understand that our ego is valid and important, but it should never become the dictator of everything we do. 

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