What Is Empathy And Why Is It Important?

Grasping each other arms to show trust and support
What Is Empathy?

What is empathy?

Empathy can become a strength that enables us to go beyond our perspectives, acknowledge the struggles of others, and treat them with appreciation and respect.

Above is a short presentation that answers this question. However, the real challenge is to be empathic while maintaining our equilibrium to be able to help people.

Empathy is an interdisciplinary concept that is still being defined and debated by scientists from neurobiology, psychology, philosophy, sociology etc. The neurosciences study empathic responses and are making efforts to identify the neural mechanisms and brain networks involved in empathy.

Researchers say that we begin to show this skill since infancy and it allows us to relate to others consider their feelings, and motivate us to help. Some companies are initiating training programs on active listening and perspective-taking so they can develop their teams’ empathetic responses.

Personal trait, skill, emotion or a virtue

From a career development point of view, researchers have identified empathy as a core component of emotional intelligence and as a predictor of success in many professions and there are two types of empathy: cognitive and emotional.

Most of the studies agree that empathy allows us a more profound understanding and authentic connection with the life experiences and emotions of others. Whether, we see it as a personal trait, a skill, an emotion or a virtue, we can agree that developing empathy is a way of encouraging compassion, while maintaining calm and control of our emotional reactions.

Self-reflection and the genuine desire to understand others can reinforce this ability. Taking time to examine our own thoughts and behaviours objectively might be a learning path to be more empathic. Learning to better read and understand people’s states of mind, picking up their subtle emotions, and balancing a proper balanced response is a pathway of both emotional resilience and kindness.