Let the other person have the privilege of being the first one to be understood. The biggest distraction to understanding someone else is self-importance. Needing to say something means you have to be thinking about it, and thinking about it means you have very little mental capacity left for empathy. Free up yours, and it will free up theirs.~ David Cain from, http://www.raptitude.com/2009/04/the-secret-to-connecting-with-people/
Empathy is the most useful ability I have ever developed. Sure, I first had to develop my abilities of self-awareness and self-assessment. But at that point, the need for empathy and compassion became plain as day.