Empathy is a muscle, you can develop it. People may be inconsistent with what they SAY, but they are surprisingly consistent with what they DO.
Remember your last relationship? Last boss you did not like? The last prospect who loved your product/service but did not close?
The reason we find humans so unpredictable is because we give too much weightage to what people say and turn a blind eye to what they do.
The fundamental problem with human behavior is you cannot observe it directly. Your best bet is to infer it based on their actions.
But hold on. If you don’t consider the context of why they are doing what they are doing, you will end up judging them instead of empathizing with them. It will only end up hurting you instead of helping you.
And getting good at this begins with observing our own actions and then finding why we did it. If you dig deeper, the answers might surprise you and hopefully transform you.
The deeper you empathize with yourself, the deeper you will empathize with others.