Having Empathy For Others

Teach Me Empathy

Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of others. Sympathy is the feeling of pity or sorrow for someone else’s misfortune. Do not confuse the two, as having sympathy in a situation which requires empathy can turn out to be an awkward situation.

In this day and age, genuine empathy is difficult to come by; selfishness, loneliness and a competitive society are driving more focus on the self. We are becoming more disconnected by focusing more attention on our issues, rather than showing more concern and care for others.

You will actually like yourself more by being empathetic towards others’ feelings. It feels good to take away attention from “me” and redirect it onto “you.” By listening a little more to what others have to say, you are acting at a higher maturity level, providing you with a sense of calmness and dignity.

By being empathetic towards others, you are reassuring them that someone is listening and caring about what they have to say. The act of listening can go a long way to helping someone with their disappointments, feelings of inadequacy, depressive and anxious states and even suicidal thoughts.

So how do you become empathic? Open your heart and realize that there is more to this world than just “me.” Find a soft spot in your heart that is willing to absorb the concerns of others, without taking it personally. Be willing to understand and relate to somebody else’s stories of pain and suffering; show them that you are human too!

At all costs, avoid superficiality and empty responses; they do nothing to help others feel listened to. Do not offer false praise or hope; this provides misdirection and misguidance. Being empathetic is based on honesty, connection and understanding. It’s taking away attention from “me” and delivering genuine and selfless attention to “you.”

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)


6 Replies to “Having Empathy For Others”

  1. A very thoughtful and powerful post of great insight on the subject of empathy.

    I am now very clear on the difference between empathy and sympathy. As you rightly stated, our selfishness, our loneliness and a competitive society have made it difficult to experience genuine empathy in our time. The highlights on how to develop and display empathy in addition to the gains of doing so are spot on.

    Great thanks for sharing a very useful post.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I am so busy analysing everything about myself and trying to ‘get better’ . I am so wrapped up in my own problems that I show no empathy. Is it possible that I’m never going to be able to show empathy bc I only care about my own problems? The only thing I show empathy towards is animals. Does that make me a sociopath or psychopath.. Not sure what the difference is at the moment. I don’t think about killing people or have any desire to harm anyone in anyway. But I literally do not feel anything when someone else is in pain. Is this something I can train myself to do? I’ve never realized how much I am about me and never about someone else. I’m just not recognizing it. My dad is the same way… My mom isn’t but my dad is very much the same way. My granny isn’t and my grandpa wasn’t but me and my dad are the same.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You have to find a friend or two who you can get close to and develop your empathy. And stop being so self-absorbed – open up to the world and you will start to find relief. Perhaps try psychodynamic psychotherapy or CBT.


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