My Merriam-Webster app says: the action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experience of another of either the past or present without having the feelings, thoughts, and experience fully communicated in an objectively explicit manner – also the capacity for this.
Do I have empathy?
Can I show empathy?
Is it my thought, my feeling, or my action, that makes me empathetic?
Showing empathy is a good thing to do, multiplied in impact when we actually mean it.
The word empatheticends in pathetic.Maybe that’s a warning sign to avoid this subject or to avoid the question – but it seems this is a great time to dig deeper into the meaning and value of empathy.
In terms of how we deal with others, how we react to others who are being kind and caring in showing me empathy, do I understand it? Do I practice it?
The borderline-cynic in me says, “That’s a technique, a tactic, a tool ...”.
It can be – used for good, or I can be used to serve other baseborn motives.
It is easy for most of us to want others to show us empathetic understanding, cut us some slack – but I’m seeing lots of examples of people being harsher than usual, more critical than usual, less kind than they might usually be. For many, I expect that’s a coping mechanism, a way of not opening up about their own pain, concerns, and fears by projecting strength or forceful viewpoints.
Has there ever been a better time, a more critical time, to show consideration for others?
We all have our troubles, no matter how difficult our life might be, someone else is struggling.