Empathy has a very deeper meaning as compared to sympathy. Empathy is a deeper emotional experience which goes beyond sympathy, a feeling of care and understanding for suffering of others. It is very easy for all of us to sympathise with others and it comes naturally and involuntarily but being empathetic is voluntary action which one does by his or her choice and requires effort. To define empathy, ‘putting oneself in another person’s shoe and feeling the way he or she feels, sharing his or her sufferings and emotions.’
Empathy enables one to understand emotionally and intellectually what another person is experiencing. It does not mean we have to agree with the other person. While empathising with others, we should never lose out on our own identity or ideas and beliefs. We can be critical and empathetic at the same time.
Being empathetic enables us to direct ourselves towards a better individual. When we empathise we try to forget our own worries and miseries and just try to feel the pain of another person. When we empathise with another person we are able to develop a strong connection with him or her emotionally as well as intellectually. We are able to feel what he or she is feeling and hence we are able to convince him or her. We all are sympathetic all the time, when we see a beggar or a person being hurt we feel sad for a moment and feel pity for him but we tend to forget that and move on with our lives. An empathetic person feels the pain of that person and understands what it feels like to be in that situation and give a helping hand.
An empathetic person is automatically an empathetic listener who quietly listens to another person’s situation and then very calmly try to convince him or her that he was being listened. Its good to tell people you care for them and feel like them and hence its good to be an empathetic person.
In a world that spends so much time picking at flaws and igniting fear and anger in people, empathy can be a soothing balm. It can help us lead a more fulfilling and healthier life.