The empathy is the ability to perceive what another individual feels at any given time . For many authors, this is a characteristic of most of the gregarious animals, and it would have helped us survive over time by fostering better rapport in the group. Next, I will show you some examples of empathy with which you will better understand what it is and why it has been so useful to us.
What is empathy?
Empathy is the ability we have to understand and share the feelings of another person, given different types of experiences.
The definition we have given you is quite general, so to understand something better what empathy is, we should mention the two types of empathy that scientists point out, cognitive and affective:
- Cognitive empathy : which can also be described as a perspective, and refers to our ability to understand and identify the specific emotions of others. For example, people with autism have problems identifying themselves with this type of specific empathy.
- Affective empathy : which refers to our ability to experience the feelings or sensations that are normally activated in response to other people’s emotions. In particular, this type of empathy is evidenced in two ways. The first way is the appearance of a feeling of stress in response to the fear or anxiety of another person. The second way to show emotional empathy is to reflect the other person’s emotion back to them.
From a less technical point of view, empathy is simply the ability to understand another person’s point of view. That understanding is the basis of communication, respect, and morals.
Precisely empathy has a lot to do with compassion and being attentive to other people and to those who happen to them, so that we know how to react in a correct way. We don’t have to be empathic for simple education, but try to be empathetic because we really feel it.
How to be more empathetic
One does not choose to be more or less empathetic, but it is true that there are people who are more likely to put themselves in the shoes of others, and thereby achieve a greater degree of emotional empathy in response to the feelings of those around them.
A person may receive constant jokes from others and we don’t realize how they can affect him. While someone who is empathetic will put himself in the skin of the other and know that you have to stop the jokes because they may hurt him.
In this sense, those people who wish to reach that level of empathy or simply be more empathetic, must work based on the rule of “you have to treat others as you would like to be treated to you” and with this we can make our lives become a cluster of experiences in which we will find ourselves empathic with the people around us.
Listening to people, respecting what they say, express or feel, and making sure that we understand what we receive is another way to improve our degree of empathy with others.
In addition, we can do a series of exercises or move with a series of thoughts, which put into practice will allow us to be more empathetic.
They would be these:
- You must strengthen your ability to be compassionate.
- You must encourage cooperation in your life
- You must practice mindfulness around your surroundings
- You should not blame others for everything that happens to you
- Always act without making distinctions in front of others
- You must be more receptive to the feelings of others
- You must maintain a positive and grateful attitude towards life
The degree of empathy
Within what is empathy itself, we talk about the “degree of empathy” that is not a number that evaluates us to decide if we are more or less empathetic, but it does determine what level of empathy we can reach.
Many times, empathy is confused with the “recognition of emotions”, and it is not the same although such recognition will be necessary for our degree of empathy to develop.
Thus, we can feel fear, sadness or joy, and while there will be people who will immediately notice these feelings, others will not do so unless we tell them what happens to us. It may be then that those who recognize the feelings or what a person is feeling, would be more likely to have a higher degree of empathy than those who do not realize anything we go through even if we have written on the forehead .
Anyway, the degree of empathy can vary depending on the person who experiences it, that is, if for example we are tired after a long day, perhaps we will be more empathic with those who come with our problems, or if The person in front of us is a family member or friend, perhaps our empathy is triggered or develops more than we can feel with a stranger.
In spite of what has been said, we must always try to put ourselves in the shoes of others , whoever it is and we will develop empathic ability and not only that, but we will also take the weight off of judging others without knowing them.
Common empathy examples
These examples of empathy, although they may seem insignificant, the truth is that they are very illustrative:
* Feel pain before a video where someone suffers: Surely you have worried or internalized the pain that you have seen that another person suffers in a video. This is an example of empathy, since otherwise you would not feel anything to see it.
* Be afraid to see the protagonist of a scary movie: Many film directors, to make their viewers fear, do not need to resort to images that generate fear for themselves, but instead rely on getting a good performance from their actors and actresses, to convey fear.
* Be sad when you see someone crying: It is shown that the vast majority of people, before a person crying or a person laughing, totally changes their mood, adapting to that of the other person.
* Be happy with the joys of others: In the same way that we are able to cry because someone cries, empathy also has to do with joy and in fact feeling happy for the achievements of others is a great example of empathy and Know how to recognize the merit or effort of someone in front of us.
* Open up to those who are discriminated against: A clear example of empathy that we could instill in children. We should not judge and in the face of bullying, we should tell our children to open up to the child who is receiving bullying or insults or simply to mess with him for anything (whether he wears glasses or is stuffed) and try to get to know him. Surely they will feel what is happening and will give an example to those children who laugh or bully.
* Intercede with a fight: Speaking of bullying, an empathetic person will always get in the middle of a “buying” situation by simple connection with the person who is suffering the aggression. We should not turn our heads to any aggression (the same can be said if we see how a woman is being a victim of sexist violence).
* Cry before the suffering of an animal: Empathy not only has to do with people, but we can also feel it with animals, especially those that are closer to us like a dog or a cat. If you suffer when you see that they have abandoned a dog, or cry if you see scenes of violence against animals, it is that you are empathic with them.
* Help an older person: Many times we believe that empathy has to do only with the feeling of others and that we are able to put ourselves in their skin, but in reality it also has to do with the actions we do regarding those who they need us more and for example if you are walking and suddenly you see an old man who wants to cross the street, you help him there you have a good demonstration of your empathy.
* Help someone who has been damaged: Being empathetic is feeling and putting oneself in the skin of the other and also helping you when you need it. A good example of empathy will be to run to lift someone who has fallen down the street, or to help someone who has been hurt or injured.
* Help others in complicated tasks: At work, at school or in everyday life, that helping hand we all need for whatever they are are good examples of empathy and make us better people.
As you can see, empathy has been with us for a long time and is present in practically everything we do. These examples are simple but illustrative, since, in a past time, if we had not been able to interpret the fear, pain, joy or sadness of our groupmates, we would have become extinct.
So I hope that these examples of empathy have helped you to understand this phenomenon so important to us.