Empathy is the ability to emotionally understand what other people feel, see things from their point of view, and imagine yourself in their place. Essentially, it is putting yourself in someone else’s position and feeling what they must be feeling. When you see another person suffering, you might be able to instantly envision yourself in the other person’s place and feel sympathy for what they are going through.
Empathy is important because it helps us understand how others are feeling so we can respond appropriately to the situation. It is typically associated with social behavior and there is lots of research showing that greater empathy leads to more helping behavior. There are several states of empathy which include, cognitive empathy, affective empathy and somatic empathy. Cognitive empathy is the capability to understand another person’s mental state. Affective empathy is also known as emotional empathy. It is the ability of a person to respond with an appropriate emotion to another person’s mental state. Somatic empathy is based on the physical reaction of an individual. It is based on mirror neuron responses. Empathy manifests in education as well in between teachers and students. Empathy becomes difficult when there are differences between people regarding culture, language, skin colour, gender and age. Empathy is considered as a motivating factor for unselfish behavior. Lack of empathy is similar to antisocial behavior. Empathy develops deep roots in our brains, as our evolutionary history. Having empathy does not mean that a person is willing to help someone. It is an essential step toward compassionate action. Empathy can be learned and practised. It is a vital aspect of our everyday lives. It enables an individual to show compassion. It helps to relate to other people, relatives, colleagues, loved ones and helps to impact the world in a positive way. Some people are born with empathy while some learn it and can increase or decrease it. It is a part of the emotional intelligence, which can be taught to the children at a very early stage. Children can be taught to be empathetic by sharing their things and not hurting others.
When we’re in a conflict with another person or dealing with someone or something that’s challenging for us, being able to admit, own, and express our fear, insecurity, sadness, anger, jealousy, or whatever other “negative” emotions we are experiencing, is one of the best ways for us to move past our defensiveness and authentically address the deeper issues of the situation. Doing this allows us to access empathy for ourselves, the other person or people involved, and even the circumstances of the conflict or challenge itself. Check out this blog post for tips on how to resolve conflict. Forgiveness is one of the most important things we can do in life to heal ourselves, let go of negativity, and live a life of peace and fulfillment. Forgiveness has to first start with us. “When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives mean the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand. The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares.”

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